Where is the evidence? (Peter Jamieson)

On Friday morning (28th Dec) I opened the Shetland Times where on page four I saw something that made my heart race.

At first glance it seemed that I had received yet another answer to prayer as there in the corner were the words ‘Feather’s splutter and teeth gnash for Dawkins’ visit’. Yes it has been a rather ongoing prayer of mine that this giant of atheism would one day visit Shetland, but as I reached the end of this wonderful article my joy soon turned to mourning, as it was clear that I wouldn’t be getting to grips with him just yet.

However, in that initial moment of exhilaration, at the thought of engaging him in discussion, a few things came to mind about those men and women of atheism, who tend to gather at such meetings (for some much needed reaffirmation  and I was reminded of a scene from the original Planet of the Apes movie. We learn very quickly in the film that the apes were using humans for experiments, then they would stuff them and put them on display as they were thought of as ‘dumb animals’, until at the very end it was discovered that humans were at one time far more advanced than the apes, and just as disturbing was that some of the ape scientists knew that but for generations this truth had been suppressed. And it’s a bit like that for Dawkins and his ilk, who are well aware of the absurdities of their beliefs, but disregard all evidence to the contrary as its implications are unthinkable to them.

As a scientist (which is a rather flattering term in Richard Dawkins’ case) his arguments for atheism are largely based on the Darwinian theory of common descent. Of course Richard will debate on the existence of God alone, although he largely cherry picks his opponents (he rather embarrassingly publicly ran away from a debate with Dr William Lane Craig, an act of cowardice that even his most ardent followers condemned , but his greatest strength is without a doubt ‘evolution’. So, what would I bring to the table if given the opportunity to debate such a legend? Well, it seems that not all scientists are agreed on what ‘evolution’ can do, for instance it can change the beak sizes of finches, but it cannot explain where birds came from in the first place. It can also explain how a Pekinese dog was derived from the wolf, but it cannot explain why the horse shoe crab in comparison has remained unchanged for over 300my (millions of years).

There is no question however that Richard would tear down my arguments (mostly by trying to ridicule me, and my narrow mindedness on the subject) as he is an excellent, and extremely eloquent, speaker, but the bare bones of his argument are there for all to see – life came about by chance and each creature evolved over millions of years to its present state. But there lays the problem – when looking for the truth of this – the hard evidence is virtually non-existent. As it says in the article Richard believes that the modern day whale evolved from the hippopotamus (again something not all scientists are agreed on). The story goes that 50my ago some hippos stayed in the river while some gradually vent­ured out into the sea and eventually became whales (believe that if you will) – but the fossilised jaw bone belonging to a modern-day whale was discovered last year that dates it to having lived prior to this supposed transition. And then there is the long held belief that all tetrapods (four legged land animals, which eventually gave rise to birds, hippos, humans etc) came from the sea via an amphibious fish called Tiktallic, however this long-held belief has also been blown out of the water as a recent discovery of fossilised foot prints belong­ing to a group of unidentified tetrapods was made which predate Tiktallic by over 50my. I could go on and on giving counter examples to what Richard sites as evidence for ‘evolution’, but it looks like I’ll just have to bide my time a little longer.

If anyone would like to hear more about this, however, I am excited to announce the arrival in February of Dr Alastair Noble (Centre for Intelligent Design) who will be holding a discussion on this very subject. It will be a great opportunity to hear from such an expert in this field, and also for any members of the public who fancy a crack at pitching their wits against him (dates and venue to be confirmed). 
Peter Jamieson
Scalloway.

180 comments

  1. David Spence

    I find it rather amusing that a person who believes in a majestic entity (created and manifesting itself within ‘ certain human beings ‘……called the birth of religion…a fantastic ideology in which to control the masses) which created everything we see in the Universe, but we are not allowed to question the so-called (imaginatively created) entity called God. Tell me Mr Jamieson, where is the evidence that God exists, but moreover, the evidence this entity created the Earth, Solar System, Galaxy and the Universe, Oh, yes, it is in your head (the imagination is an amazing concept……next you’ll be telling us Jesus is on the second coming and is going to create Hell on Earth to all the disbelievers) or is it in a ‘ man-made book ‘ called the Bible, which, like chinese whispers (call it a mild form of evolution call it what you will) has changed with the times to suit the social development of the time. Religion, like politics today, is nothing more than a social ideology in which to maintain control of the people. It is rather amusing that ‘ Intelligent Design was not mentioned 30 or so years ago…….why……because it is just a rather pathetic and weak attempt by the brainwashed followers into comparing evolution with their own laughable attempt to justify scientific analysis and more likely theory of how life began, and the Universe and other scientific theory to answer the relevant questions……..Oh, sorry, God created it …..and we are not allowed to question…..you will be branded a witch, heathan or disbeliever and will subsequently be killed……sorry, wrong century.

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  2. David Spence

    Tell me Mr Jamieson, how can one have a civilized, sensible debate with a person (yourself) whose sole purpose and way of thinking is, basically, its my way or no way at all (god created everything, so don’t question it) manner in which to debate?

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  3. John McPhail

    Wow talk about misrepresenting scientific FACT.

    But really, you disagree. You’re allowed to, so be happy with your faith. Faith is about the person not about the community to why so threatened by one posh man. True belive would not have you so rattled. True faith would not reuire you to write such defensive letters.

    Be content in your belief. I’m content in mine and they don’t include cavemen sharing a cigarrette with a dinosaur.

    Live life and be happy. We are all different.

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  4. Robert Lowes

    Intelligent Design Expert is a mutually exclusive phrase.

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  5. Luke Holt

    Dear All
    As a society we treat people who hear voices and claim to talk with gods in one of two ways depending on the amount they shout in the streets. Mr Jamieson is still restricting himself to rambling in the newspaper so we should not try and talk him out of it. Suffice to say that his fellow believers until recently claimed the earth was only a few thousand years old and that dianasors where a test of faith. As usual religion has been playing catch up to science and reason.

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  6. ian tinkler

    Just what is intelligent about the design of Onchocerca volvulus? A tiny worm that blinds, very slowly, Young Children, (River Blindness). If that is an example of intelligent design, God is an absolute sadist. Can anyone who believes in intelligent design tell me why an omniscient God, kind and merciful, designed this nematode? What kind of God designs a parasite to blind the innocents?

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  7. johnmcphail

    If god created us. Then who created God?

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  8. Sandy McDonald

    Intelligent design, oh my goodness! He talks about atheists and their ilk gathering to reaffirm there beliefs, what happens every Sunday in many churches across the country?!

    I read an article recently in New Scientist about the birth of religion, basically an artefact of the human brains excellent pattern recognition ability going into overdrive and seeing patterns where they don’t exsist.

    I can also recall another article written by an advecot of intelligent design. It was attempting to prove the existence of a ” watch maker” using the fact that a bannana fits quiet well into a human hand!

    There is a reason that Dawkins would destroy Peter Jamiesons arguments and that is that he is a SCIENTIST with great knowledgeable experience and not a crack pot nutter from the CID.

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  9. Mark Ritch

    Trolling in the Shetland Times – Who’d a thunk it?

    I can’t see any point in this parading of passive aggressive, scientific illiteracy other than to goad athiests and I’m currently too tired to be goaded. Maybe a good night’s sleep will get my dander up. Or maybe not.

    Typical for bloody Shetland though, even with a venue like Mareel you can’t get the big acts and have to settle for the cover bands….

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  10. Colin Hunter

    To (for once) back up Ian Tinklers argument, I have one word to say which will disprove the existence of God at one fell swoop. And that word is “MIDGIES”!

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  11. Michael Hester

    This man clearly knows nothing about the subject. I too find Dawkins sometimes too abrasive, but he is absolutely right on evolution. Even as a layman I picked up on several inaccuracies in this author’s arguments. For example nobody claims whales evolved from hippos. What is theorised is that they share a common ancestor.
    The fossil jawbone from Antarctica does NOT predate the transition to water, if found accurate, the jawbone merely shows that one of the semi aquatic whale relatives existed alongside fully aquatic whales for some time.
    The arguments about so called irreducible complexity are laughable. It has been shown time and again that all the arguments put forward by religious extremists, from the eye to the bacterial flagellum can exist in what creationists would call “incomplete” forms.

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  12. Sam Smith

    Something inside me feels uneasy when you said that you have an on going prayer that Mr Dawkins will one day come all the way to Shetland so that you could get the chance to debate him and for whatever sordid reasons win. Do you honestly waste your god/gods time making requests like these?

    On the requirement of evidence let me first quote Caral Sagan when he said “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” It’s extraordinary to claim god created the universe and everything it contains. So where’s the proof? (there is virtually none) Its good to see people of faith talking about the need for evidence, but trying to poke holes in evolution isn’t providing any evidence for the existence of a divine creator.

    You say that Mr Dawkins and his “ilk” are well aware of their absurdities, that would include me then I guess since I’m not superstitious in anyway shape or form. Well one thing I think is absurd is that you probably believe in a talking dead guy. And a god who we are supposed to both love and fear, that has got to be the essence of sado masochism.

    Evolution remains a theory and I think its one that makes very good sense. I don’t know everything of it, but I take it on good reasoning. Something else that’s still just a theory is gravity, and if any of you don’t believe in that one, go jump of the knab.

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  13. David Spence

    There are, roughly estimated, 100,000,000,000 stars in our galaxy, there are, estimated again, 6,000,000,000 galaxies in the ‘ known ‘ universe. It is, based on limited observation, estimated there could be a high probability that many stars have planets revolving around them/ Why would god create over 600,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars and yet only put life, human beings as well as other species, on 1?

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  14. Sandy McDonald

    I think Peter Jaimeson has achieved his goal of inflaming the sensibilites of the heathens and pagans among us!

    My god is Richard Feyman. As eloquent and gifted a speaker you could hope to meet.

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  15. Peter Jamieson

    I am going to keep this brief (you will no doubt be glad to hear) but feel I should at least reply to some of the critics above as I see a number of obvious flaws.

    Firstly David Spence suggests that you are not allowed to question the fact that some people believe that God created life etc – since when?

    David, the very fact you have posted your response to my letter on this forum shows that to be false. Sorry, but i’m not getting you here. It is more likely questioning Darwins theory that will land you in hot water, especially in the science class where at one time pupils were encouraged to use critical thinking methods. Sadly however for many teachers they are not allowed to mention competing views, it can even result in being fired. Did you know that Darwins theory is the only scientific theory protected by law?

    Secondly, Sandy lamments that I am a ‘crack pot nut from the CID’ … what does this mean?.

    And lastly, Michael Hester suggests that I know nothing of the subject. To be fair to Michael I have been a little playful with my wording, especially regarding the Hippo to whale transition, but I have actually studied this at some depth for almost 5 years and actually do know quite a bit about it.

    For instance i said in the article that not all scientists agree on whale evolution.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2007/12/071219-whales-evolved.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1553008.stm

    http://ncse.com/rncse/21/5-6/tale-two-entities-whales-hippos

    The links above are just some of the views that are more commonly held.

    Do I believe that the whale evolved from the modern day hippo that we find swimming around today, no. I no more believe that than I believe humans evolved from chimpanzees. But do I believe that whales evolved from a Hippo like creature, which of course is what Richard is suggesting, well again the answer is no. I don’t believe that any more than I believe the dolphin evolved from the bat because they share sonar vision.

    Here is a little clip from a documentary on whale evolution, whith a very revealing interview with Dr Gingerich (the leading authority on whale evolution)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zio1ttlDjlM

    I would just like to finish now by offering any of the above an opportunity to meet with me and discuss ‘evolution’. I would galdly come to your house, with my laptop, and look at what you think is evidence for ‘common descent’, and what makes you hold that Darwins theory is true, and I will in turn show evidence as to why I believe it is completely false.

    This is not a challenge, as such, but more an honest attempt to look at our opposing views in a dignified manner. It is an interesting subject so please, email me and lets have a talk.

    Failing that, why not come along to the Museum auditorium on Saturday 27th February at 7pm, for the screening of ‘unlocking the mysteries of life’ followed by a question and answers forum with Dr Alastair Noble.

    Unless of course you are not so sure about your theory and would rather not be challenged on it? ;o)

    peter.jamieson@inbox.com

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  16. George Dickson

    Mr Jamieson

    Please justify the existence of your “God” and show actual proof that even the likes of I will have to think about and will possibly have to change our minds on. If it exists, of course.

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  17. Jim MacLeod

    Maybe “something” created this universe sometime in the past.

    However, the chance of it being a man-like creature, with supernatural powers, that’s bothered whether folk on this planet say “thanks” every night before bed, is fairly tiny.

    I’m fairly sure there’s more chance that we (humans) got where we are because (generally) strong/clever things have a better chance of surviving & breeding than weak/stupid things.

    Even most religious folk, whether they follow a fat bloke, a water walker or a many-armed elephant, usually agree you inherit traits of your parents.

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  18. Andrew Gibson

    If someone can prove to me the existence of God and all that goes with him/her, then I’ll believe it. The above letter by Peter Jamieson is simply a bigotted account of the emeregence of life on Earth, in the same way that most fanatics portray their religions and beliefs.

    With the level of knowledge mankind has today, evolution is a proven path for all life on Earth, although details of each and every creature are not fully known. In some cases it is extraordinary and transformations to the next species is wonderful – how does a butterfly originate from a caterpillar?

    Mr Jamieson is entitled to his beliefs as is everyone else, but to try to ridicule others beliefs in an overarching way and refer to them as ‘apes’ is clearly the words of someone who is impudent, fanatical and desperately trying to persuade himself of the beliefs he is suppose to hold.

    It is a shame the Times allowed him the print space to be so rude and he’d be better holding his own public discussion and gauge general opinion of his narrow views based on turnout and feedback.

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  19. Peter Jamieson

    Hi George, I was only going to post the once on this particular forum but seeing as how you have asked a very honest question I will try and answer it as best I can.

    Before I begin however take a look at what David has just posted above.

    David begins with making a claim from known science about the vastness of the universe, something quite incredible indeed, but makes the mistake, and rather clumsily too I must add, of trying to use this as an argument against the existence of God ‘Why would god create over 600,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars and yet only put life, human beings as well as other species, on 1?’ (David should really know that there are no life forms on stars)

    The problem here as you can see is that as David tries to appeal to our sensibilities he is making a claim that is unknowable. How does David know that only 1 planet has life on it? Well, he doesn’t of course, but that doesn’t stop him using it as evidence.

    And that is just how it goes. People like David find it incredible that an all loving, all powerful God would create this that or the next (usually digging up the most disturbing examples they can find, as in Ian Tinklers post) and somehow expect believers to give an explanation that will suffice. But sadly, as has been my expereince, they very seldom want to listen.

    I think a better question David could have asked is ‘how did 600,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, at least 1 of which has a planet with life on it, come from an explosion?’ Now that would be worth discussing.

    Unlike David I can give an explantion for what I believe, not from incredulity, speculation, or theory, but from personel experience. I don’t know if you know that I recently published a book called ‘Design for Life’. It took me nearly 5 years to write (although somewhat on and off) and since its release in November has almsot sold out.

    It tells the story of my life, from my humble begiinings growing up in shetland, to becomiing a drug addict/dealer, and a miraculous encounter with Christ in a Christian rehab. And of course how this changed my life, and quite dramatically too I must add.

    As you are no doubt aware ‘proof’ of God is not something anyone can produce in a material sense, at least not in any way that can be tested, but comes largely from experience, like divine revelation perhaps. I personally was visited by christ, saw Him in the flesh, spoke with Him, although very briefly, but having such an experience changed everything for me – just knowing that He was real.

    As i have said it has taken me almost 5 years to write about this, I have also been very busy with various different ministries ie. working with local drug users, I have had food stuffs thrown at my windows, have just this last week had a mystery person use a black marker to write anti God slogans on my front door and window (before letter in Times), so to put myself through this, in the 6 years I have been saved, unless I trully believed what happeneed to me was real I very much doubt I would bother with it all.

    I have also over the years spoken with many people, ex drug users, alcoholics, even many people who have led more normal lives, who have told me some amazing testimonies of how God became real to them also.

    Hope that helps.

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  20. Sandy McDonald

    How did life come from an “explosion” . Again showing his complete lack of understanding of cosmology!

    I was not referring to Peter Jamieson as a crack pot nutter from the CID (Centre for intelligent design by the way Peter), but to “Dr” Alistair Noble.

    And Peter, David Spence was actually making the point that Earth is very probably only one of millions (even billions) of planets with life, you are missing the entire point of the argument. It is even possible that there is life on some of the planets and moons in our own Solar System. How will your argument stand if this is proved to be the case?

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  21. Peter Jamieson

    Sandy, as you should know everything that exists supposedly arrived as the result of an explosion, once upon a time. Is that not so? Or do you have another explanation.

    Secondly, whether or not David finds it incredulous that life should be limited to 1 planet is neither here nor there, after all why shoud life only be limited to 1 planet? It’s not as if the bible makes any statements about this. What he should be more concerned about is why there should be such a thing as life in the first place, wherever it might happen to be.

    Here’s an interesting debate between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox, for anyone interested in the big questions regarding this article.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK2OcIIkpPo

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  22. Sandy McDonald

    Calling the Big Bang an explosion is inaccurate. The name for the point of creation “big bang” is actually quite poor as most people imagine a giant fire ball expanding into space. This is wrong. Everything, including space and time were created in that moment (pick your own theory for why, there are many, ranging from the religious to the rational to the mystical, I’ll go with rational myself).

    I will not point you in the direction of texts or papers as there is no point, just as i will not listen to religious dogma I doubt very much you will listen to scientific rationales.

    I do have a question though, do you believe that human beings are somehow special compared, say, to a tube worm?

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  23. Just because evolution “can’t explain where birds came from in the first place” doesn’t mean there isn’t a rational logical answer. You can’t just fill gaps in existing theories with some supernatural deity and expect to get away with it. Science doesn’t know everything and doesn’t pretend to know everything – if it did it would stop doing what it is doing. To deny evolution and replace it with childish fictitious nonsense is to the detriment of no-one but yourself. Some humans have trouble with evolution for two reasons: 1] it contradicts their faith, 2] humans are terrible are contemplating the long-term. Evolution happens rapidly at a micro-level and that has been witnessed. Changes on the grand scale take millions of years. We estimate life in some form has existed on earth for ~4b years. Ever felt an hour has dragged on? What about a day? Longest week ever? We’ve all felt that. Life has existed on earth for about 208,709,828,040 weeks. Yeah. Life changes over long periods of time.

    Your answer about proof of God is insufficient, entirely. Personal experience is just that. It’s not transferable or measurable or usable to anyone by yourself. People justify holding racist or sexist beliefs based on personal experience. It’s not a satisfactory explanation. If the existence of some deity character cannot be proven in a conventional sense which has bearing on the real world then I am simply not interested.

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  24. Laura jamieson

    I have never understood the big “hoo ha” about disproving evolution.
    Do Christians think that if they prove it false…and the flip side true,we will all fall at their gods feet?

    I for one would not. I have no time for a violent, misogynist, homophobic , narcissistic human….let alone a” supernatural being”.

    I could give you many arguments , as to why I am atheist about one more god than peter Jamieson…but just one will suffice. Peter claims that through a personal relationship with Christ,he was saved,came off drugs,and is a better person….are there no amputees that this has happened to? Why does god not cure amputees ?

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  25. Well, Peter, if you believe the bible is the word of god – as opposed to stories written by man about god – then there is life on only one planet.

    The bible says god made the heavens and the earth. Then he put man (among other things) on it. So, there isn’t life elsewhere and that is certainly the orthodox view.

    You’re not one of those dangerous revisionists, are you?

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  26. Robert Lowes

    It’s a common misconception amongst the anti-evolution crowd that humans evolved from chimpanzees. This is not the case. Humans are not descended from chimps – rather both species are descended from a common ancestor, along with the other primates and great apes. Nor does evolution suggest that bats and dolphins are closely related on the basis of both possessing echo-location.

    the crux of Mr Jamieson’s argument is that Evolutionary Theory and the Big Bang Theory are unable to provide answers to the creation of life on Earth or the universe as a whole because there are things that we can’t possibly know about and the idea that all of time & space came into existence following a massive explosion of some kind is ridiculous, whereas the notion that a celestial entity created the world, all life on it and everything else out there in just under a week is of course, entirely reasonable.

    We should not discount the personal experience of Mr Jamieson either. Some people go their whole lives praying, but for Jesus to actually manifest himself (or Himself) in a vision to Mr Jamieson personally is truly remarkable. After all, if you can’t take at face value the word of an ex-drug addict/dealer having visions whilst on a comedown in Christian Rehab, what’s the world coming to? It seems to me that Jesus often appears to those who’s lives have been blighted by drug and alcohol addiction, including former President of the United States George W. Bush. And he definitely never screwed up anything, guided by the hand of God whilst he was in office.

    Therefore, in order to test this theory under scientific principles. I’m planning to develop a substantial heroin addiction and then see if I’m visited by Jesus when I eventually clean-up. Wish me luck.

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  27. Peter Jamieson

    ‘I will not point you in the direction of texts or papers as there is no point, just as i will not listen to religious dogma I doubt very much you will listen to scientific rationales.’ Sandy.

    That’s a pity, I am more than willing to look through any papers you suggest. It may even be that I have come across those same papers already.

    Look I am simply responding to the arguments set against me. And I am certainly not so closed mind, as some may believe, but have come to this level of understanding from years of research. As i have already said I would be more than willing to spend some time discussing thses topics face to face with anyone on here.

    ‘I do have a question though, do you believe that human beings are somehow special compared, say, to a tube worm?’

    As a human being of course I do, but as a Christian – certainly.

    What is your view?

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  28. Peter Jamieson

    J Stewart says ‘Your answer about proof of God is insufficient, entirely. Personal experience is just that.’

    That as may be, but at least I have evidence for what I believe.

    Can you provide any solid evidence that He doesn’t exist?

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  29. Robert Wishart

    The just departed Archbishop of Canterbury and even the Pope have managed to square their beliefs with the fact of evolution. Maybe Mr Jamieson has a more direct line to their boss.

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  30. Peter Jamieson

    Pádraig, I personally believe that God created life on this planet alone, but Scripture doesn’t tell us that life is exclusive to this planet. Should there be life elsewhere I don’t see how that should be a problem.

    Yes it’s should obvious to everyone that man didn’t evolve from chimps, or dolphins from bats, but it’s okay to believe that a Hippo like creature evolved into the whale, and why … because this mystical creature shares certain traits with the whale, more so than with any other creature.

    A Hippo is extremely adapted to life in the water, a massive pus point. It can also feed it’s young underwater, which would have been a big problem otherwise. It has massive amounts of blubber, which of course would be of great benefit and so on … It was just one small step for the hippo to become a whale. It’s truly amazing what you can acheive over time.

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  31. Sandy McMillan

    I am a fully blown Alcoholic, 22 years ago I stopped drinking receiving absolutely no help from man or beast, had there been a god or the like I may not have gone through the months of pure hell while coming of Alcohol, back in the 1970s our house was flooded we lost all our down stair furnishings, at that time I was a drunkard, and own to my drinking habits our house contents were not insured, I approached the council for help, There reply to me was it was a act of god, I then asked them if I could have a meeting with this guy god, of course this was not to be, but two week later the council installed a larger rain water pipe, and to my disgust I never meet god, so then Peter where can I meet this god.

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  32. roy chamberlain

    god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that they might not perish but have eternal life john 3-16 -

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  33. David Spence

    Is it just shear coincidence that once you give the general population the ability to read and write (during and after the Industrial Revolution) as a consequence of the advancement of technology, the changing shape of society, giving people greater power over their own future etc etc that having the ability to read and write and share information, the question of the validity of religion and this of god should indeed be questioned…….for the past 1,700 years, this question has been denied to the general population on the condition and terms of very severe punishment or even death.

    It is not surprising that huge advancements in technology over the past 150 years are a direct result of giving people the ability to share information and subsequently scrutinize other forms of information which has been passed down through the ages (usually without question under the direct control of the church) this also includes the validity of religion and this of god.

    Yes Mr Jamieson, many sciences are based on theories, but theories which can be deduced from scientific evidence and analysis, unlike the bible, which is nothing more than a collection of stories passed down through the generations (and no doubt embellished to suit the social or political climate at the time) without one iota of evidence to justify its existence.

    Religion, like politics today, is nothing more than a system of control and that people should be subjugated to precise modes of behaviour to suit those of a greater power (royalty, the rich and the church) and like politics, the driving force for many christian denominations (especially the Mormon Church) is based on monetary value and not faith or the divine belief of a greater creator.

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  34. David Spence

    As a side comment, I was actually referring to life on other planets and not exactly on a star itself Mr Jamieson…….I think (based on scientific evidence) it would be a tad too hot for any form of life to be created. Mr Jamieson, as you read these comments on the Shetland Times website, has it not occurred to you that many things in your life are a result of science and technological advancement due to scientific processes to refine, improve or invent new devices which may enhance our lives……like computers, the Internet, the wealth of information the web brings, images, moving images, music, sounds and other scientific instruments or devices which embellish modern society today.

    Tell Mr Jamieson, do you believe in global warming, and if you do (based on scientific evidence you may have gleamed) is this gods answer to the pollution we are creating?

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  35. Michael Garriock

    “Can you provide any solid evidence that He doesn’t exist?”

    I was wondering how long it would take for this hoary old chestnut and totally nonsensical illogical and irrational last ditch quip to raise its ugly old head.

    Evidence that anything doesn’t exist is a fundamentally flawed concept, there is always the possibility, however unlikely and however far fetched it may seem, that it *might* do so, but just hasn’t been detected or located in a way to conclusively prove its existence yet. However when that hard evidence of existence has been sought by innumerable individuals over throusands of years and has always come back with a big fat zero, rational reasoning can only conclude that on the balance of probability any hard evidence ever being found is miniscule.

    To have and maintain any credible agrument for the existence of anything, the onus is always upon the believer of any particular theory to provide the hard evidence to do so and break the status quo, the unbeliever only needs to sit back and judge the believability of the believer’s evidence. Anything else is to create a farcial situation, for example I could claim that I believe in the score of twelve armed invisible purple Gods that live on Mars, and that as I have hard evidence that proves to me they exist, it is up to you to provide evidence that they don’t.

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  36. Robert Sim

    I have followed this debate with interest but my usual sense of frustration when the proponents of science and religion clash like this. In my opinion, they are different fundamental manifestations of the human mind and have different purposes or functions, at least in modern times, and it is pointless to argue that one is superior to the other or makes the other redundant. Broadly speaking, the function of religion in the modern world is to give meaning to life and to guide moral and ethical behaviour. (I know that isn’t how it pans out in reality all the time.) Equally broadly speaking, the function of science is to investigate how the material world is constituted. But that doesn’t tell us how to behave. It is like comparing apples and pears. They each have a place. Oh, and I have to say that I usually have the greatest respect for Robert Lowes’ contributions but his last comment was unworthy of him.

    Reply
  37. Michael Tait

    I’ll never understand why people keep bringing up these debates. Both sides are so entrenched in their own opinion that neither are going to budge, so airing them like this achieves nothing except acrimonious exchanges between the parties.

    Might as well read the comments threads under youtube videos. The conversations there are less erudite, however it amounts to the same thing:

    “You’re an idiot”.
    “No, you’re an idiot”.
    “No, you are…”

    Reply
  38. Peter Jamieson

    First of all I would just like to apologise to anyone who may feel I am being in any way disrespectful. I fully appreciate, and respect, everyone who has commented on this forum (I think this may especially apply to David S who must feel that I have been singling him out, sorry David)

    Sandy, I hear what you are saying. I can sympathise greatly with your situation back then, and would like to commend you for having turned your life around. There have been many times throughout my life when I have asked ‘where was God in that then?’, but since becoming a Christian, and learning more about him each day, I am convinced that, as terrible as any given situation was at the time (like you being an alcoholic, and having your house flooded), God was in it and it would have been a whole lot worse without Him.

    Sandy, I have absolutely no doubt that if you genuinely want to know if Christ is real, He will come. Open up your heart and surrender your life to Him, you won’t be disappointed (Read Luke Ch15:11-32).

    David, I hear you too, but I have to say a few things in defence of Christianity here. If you care to look at the history of education in Europe, especially this country, you will find that education came to the general population through the church. I’m sure you are well aware of this, or if you like I could link you to various historical documents. Also, modern day science, and scientific discovery, has its roots firmly in the bible. If you do not think this is be correct I can quite easily link you to literally hundreds of papers that define science as having its birth place in the teachings of the bible. You seem to think Christianity has sought to silence its critics where if anything it has sought to educate.

    You say ‘the question of the validity of religion and this of god should indeed be questioned…….for the past 1,700 years, this question has been denied to the general population’ But again I can point you to countless papers that contradict this view. Religion has been questioned since time began. Many of the ancient philosophers question God, all through history we can find scientists who questioned God/the bible (a simple search on the internet should suffice with any of the claims I have made, please don’t make me have to do it for you, thanks), but we have to remember that science itself arose from biblical teachings so there was a time when it was accepted by nearly all that God created the universe and that His handiwork was there to be discovered, and therefore not all who question it recieved a warm welcome, shall we say.

    Michael ‘Evidence that anything doesn’t exist is a fundamentally flawed concept, there is always the possibility, however unlikely and however farfetched it may seem, that it *might* do so’. That is correct. Therefore when millions of people across the world claim to have a personal relationship with ‘God’, which is at least evidence of something, why are people like you so quick to dismiss it?

    I came on here initially to discuss ‘evolution’ which really was the crux of my letter. And therefore would like to end with a challenge to anyone who fancies taking it up.

    Laura Jamieson made an interesting comment when she thought the sole purpose of trying to disprove ‘evolution’ was to lead everyone to God. Well even if it were to be somehow disproved I don’t think that would ever happen. People would just point to something else; it’s just how the human mind works. In defense of this however I would like to say that I think it is important to somehow enlighten people of the fallacies of Darwinism. ‘Evolution’ means that every living thing is just an accumulation of atoms that came about by chance, it has no real meaning in the universe, and as Sandy touched on, a human’s life is about as meaningful as a Tube worm. ‘Evolution’ is a dangerous concept that has caused the deaths of millions of people throughout history, and none more so than in the last 150 years. Its conclusions are simply horrendous.
    .
    I would therefore like to challenge anyone on here to provide me with links to what they consider to be ‘evidence’ for ‘evolution’, as in molecules to man, or Hippo to whale, etc. Seeing as how none of you want to meet with me face to face to discuss this topic how about we discuss it here. Provide for all to see what you consider to be conclusive evidence that the mechanism Darwin proposed is accountable for the ‘evolution’ of all living things from 1, or a few, common ancestors. I look forward to discussing the evidence.

    Luke Holt thought that I was restricted to conveying my views in the paper, but as I have already said i am more than willing to meet with anyone from here, either singularly, or in a group, to defend my beliefs. I am not restricted to trolling newspapers or websites.

    Reply
  39. John Kryton

    And Jesus asked them, “Whom or what do you say that I am?”

    They replied, “You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the ontological foundation of the context of our very selfhood revealed.”

    And Jesus replied, “What?”

    Reply
  40. Ali Inkster

    “JESUS SAVES”
    I have to admit I always I found the statement rather amusing because I would immediately think ” he’s the only one who can afford to”
    And after reading PJ s letter and the following near forty replies I got to thinking, whether or not it was a manifestation of the saviour himself as Peter believes, or a delusion created in the mind of a drug addict at his lowest point while in christian rehab as has been suggested on here. It does not matter because in this instance Jesus really did save Peter, and having this faith has enabled him to give up drugs and make a contribution to society both through his work in a care home and his work with drug users in society helping them try and kick the habit, or with his book that if it persuades just one youngster to give the whole drug scene a miss will be worth every word.
    So well done PJ here is one atheist at least that is glad you have taken the path you have, and that you are still with us on this journey through life.

    Oh and David Spence I have heard you preaching your particular brand of religion (socialism) and I have to say you are every bit as dogmatic and entrenched in your belief no mater how ridiculous you sound, as the most fervent religious fanatic.

    And on that I will leave you with a couple of quotes (forgive me if they are not word perfect.)

    “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”

    “He who saves just one life saves the world entire”

    Happy New Year aabody

    Reply
  41. Laura jamieson

    Thank you for your reply,i am glad we can debate this reasonably.

    I am curious as to why you think it is important to disprove evolution? I will not debate evolution itself,as I feel ..well unequipped to do so,at least at a level that might change your mind.

    In fact I have no desire to change your mind,you may believe what you wish to believe,however,I do not wish to have your beliefs foisted on me.

    I worry that your next step maybe demanding “intelligent design” is “taught” in our schools….especially as you seem to feel it has dangerous consequences….is this the eugenics canard?

    I ask you Peter..again..why does god not intervene in the life of amputees? is there not a christian with a personal relationship among them?

    lastly…it is not possible to prove a negative…please give me your evidence that proves there is not a Trow living in my byre.

    These points are old hat,and again I have no desire to turn you away from your god…if that’s what has got you through your tough times.

    So why then do you choose to debunk my scientific view of the world? it is not very…well… christian or respectful and tolerant..both words often bandied about by the religious as a means “warding” of of criticism of them.
    laura jamieson

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  42. Robert Sim

    Peter, in relation to your post “challenging” (sounds quite intimidating) contributors to this discussion “…to provide [you] with links to what they consider to be ‘evidence’ for ‘evolution’”, I would point you to this youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7iSdKqOIHs, the first of seven videos containing a lecture by Richard Dawkins which makes the case for evolution. That is it: case closed. And I am sure there are plenty of other links that would do the same job.

    As I tried to say in my previous post, religion’s power lies in its recognition of the spiritual side of humanity and its potential to awaken us to that. Prayer and meditation do that very effectively. But science’s power lies in its ability to explain the material world. The development of living things on Earth is explained currently by the theory of evolution. That is the only theory we have that does that, as Dawkins explains. There is nothing more to be said; although I understand that you might take issue with points of detail in the way in which the theory explains the development of particular animals. I am not qualified to debate that. But that kind of point is irrelevant to the validity or otherwise of the theory of evolution. And it is valid within the scientific knowledge we presently have.

    Reply
  43. ian tinkler

    I agree with Robert Lowes, who has been criticised by Robert Sim, truly a miracle; John Kryton has spoken in words. I think I am going to hit the Tenants now, all too much for me. Happy New Year to all, Colin and Gordon all is forgiven, lets hit Mareel soon and get smashed, who knows a divine vision may convert us to something, perhaps hail King Salmond and Viking Heaven. (Not Valhalla, the green Taliban thingy!)

    Reply
  44. Peter Jamieson

    Okay, because someone extremely close to me has asked that I desist from this discussion, more than likely for the kind of thing that Laura has revealed i.e. that I am coming across as not being very Christian, tolerant, or respectful of others beliefs, I therefore (as much as it pains me to do so) will be making this one of my last posts on the subject.

    First of all I would just like to apologise to Laura if I have caused her any angst. The truth Laura is that this is a subject I am extremely versed on, and passionate about. In fact I have more or less studied it on a daily basis for almost 5 years. My interest in this subject first arose when I heard a talk at the Town Hall by a Creation Scientist and, to be honest, found it incredible that such people existed. I then went home and decided to look into it, still believing that all life forms were the product of ‘evolution’, only to find that the evidence wasn’t exactly as concrete as I had once thought. Being a Christian however this didn’t exactly come as a great surprise and so I decided to make it a point of research, both using the bible and any relevant scientific literature, including web sites from both camps. On doing so however it didn’t too long to discover that there were indeed many discrepancies connected to ‘evolution’, especially the model that Darwin proposed, and that a lot of the evidence for it was steeped in speculation.

    My investigations since then has revealed that if anything ‘Darwinian evolution’ is severely lacking in physical evidence, and in some cases was even fraudulent, but for some reason, and besides the many falsifications to the theory, I find it hard to believe that it is still the only theory of earth’s history allowed. You asked if it was my intention to see ‘intelligent design taught in the classroom’ and no it’s not. However, what I would like to see is that teachers are given the right to discuss with pupils competing theories and the many weakness of Darwinian evolution, which are being discovered almost on a daily basis.

    Again Laura, I didn’t mean to belittle anything you stand for. I perhaps got a little carried away, as can quite easily happen, like when debating on various web sites that I am connected with. If you are at all interested I will provide links to two sites that I have found rather useful over the years. Please have a look at them, read their policies and what they stand for, and perhaps you can use it to better understand your own position.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/

    Robert, I’m afraid there is no apology for you however, posting a link to Dawkins videos! Tut tut.

    Yes I am very familiar with Dawkins and his views, I am also very familiar with most of his books, especially ‘the greatest show on earth’, which is being discussed in those videos, and, as will come as no surprise to you, I don’t agree with much of it. Look I’ll be honest with you Robert, I have at my disposal various articles written by evolutionary scientists who have reviewed various fossils of missing links, or have made discoveries that in effect falsify their own theory, or have further researched the findings of other evolutionary scientists, or have conducted experiments which surprisingly contradicted their own theory, and would posted them given the expected response. Of course my plan was to allow others on here to provide links to some of the best evidences for evolution i.e. evolution of the horse (which at one time was said to be the most documented but has since been shown to lack any real evidence), or whale evolution, or the evolution of humans, in which being familiar with the evidences, as well as their many weaknesses, it would have been a simple formality for me to produce reports that falsify the claims made about them.

    And so I suppose I should apologise for that also.

    Having said that Robert, I would like to provide a link for you to look at where Dawkins book is reviewed. Check it out and see if you still think it provides the evidence you believe.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/one-long-bluff-a-review-of-richard-dawkins-the-greatest-show-on-earth/

    I would however like to thank Ali Inkster for his kind words of encouragement, atheist or not. You have indeed been a very good friend. Maybe one day you might even come over to the light ;o)

    Reply
  45. Sam Atakaya

    I have sat through many conversations just like this thread of comments and the only opinion I ever come away with is “what’s the point?” Why can’t the atheists be happy in their supposed self-righteous superior evolutionary intellectualism and the religious believers be happy in their supposed self-righteous salvation guaranteed life affirming supreme being? Why do both groups not live and let live safe in the knowledge they are right in their own mind without preaching, challenging or demanding proof from the other group that they are right or wrong? It just ends up sounding like idiots fighting over what soccer team is best. Whatever gets you through this journey is right for you and not for someone else, get over it.

    Reply
  46. ian tinkler

    I must thank my Guardian Angel at the Times who edits my more idiotic, just once in a while what I say matters. For all of our sakes at least consider.

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  47. David Spence

    It is a shame that Ali Inkster has lower the tone of the debate with personal insults – if he cannot contribute in a civilized sensible manner towards the debate I would prefer he does not comment at all. By the Way, since when was a social/poltical ideology a form of religion? I have searched the web, books and other sources but alas no mention of socialism ever being a religion or Lenin, Trotsky ever being worshiped as a god or deity…..most strange.

    Reply
  48. Shuard Manson

    If anybody wishes to believe in fairies lets respect that. I would say that takes courage I don’t have.

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  49. David Spence

    There are many aspects of life and the environment in which life exists that have still not been answered by science or by other methods pertaining to an answer. One example question many people may have asked :

    ‘ Why are human beings the only species to, as may be perceived, dominate the planet so successfully? ‘.

    Another question which could also be asked :

    ‘ Is it part of evolution for 1 species to dominate over all other species on a planet, and is this a common factor in terms of a planets future, whether in our solar system or other solar systems which may be in our galaxy or afar? ‘.

    Certainly one can wonder in the beauty and complexity of life on our planet, and the processes involved in which contributes to a varied range of species, environments and the circumstances in which such variety of life can co-exist.

    Certainly science may not have the answers to the most important of questions ‘ What is the meaning of life ‘, ‘ What is the purpose of life ‘ etc etc but just as science may not be able to answer these questions, religion, I fear, does not have the answers to such questions as well, not if you take into consideration the quantities and numbers involved in terms of chance.

    Remember, Christianity really started at a time when our knowledge of life, the environment, the planet and the celestial bodies (we now know as the planets, stars, galaxies etc) was, literally, none existing in terms of benefiting us as a species, and knowing our place in the greater picture.

    Just because we may not know the answers to many aspects of life, the environment, our place within the celestial environment of the galaxy and universe, does not justify religion by saying ‘ God created it for the greater good and thus we should not question his greater plan (whatever that may be) ‘.

    Many religions started at a time where our knowledge of who we were as a species and our connection between us as a species in relation to other species and the environment was, literally, none existing……..does this give greater credence to the values of religion and their answers to the questions, at that time, which could not be answered?

    Reply
  50. James Mackenzie

    Flying Sphaghetti Monster anyone?
    http://www.venganza.org/

    Reply
  51. James Mackenzie

    Apologies – no offence intended. That should read SPAGhetti.
    I have of late been disturbed by a manifestation in the structure of sphagnum moss.

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  52. Sandy McDonald

    Does anyone know when Brian Cox’s new series Wonders of Life is starting? I think he will be making the point that we tend to consider ourselves (humans) as some kind of pinnacle of evolution. This is of course wrong, as there is no pinnacle, just constant change. There is no requirement for life to strive for iPods. It could well be that we humans only last a few hundreds of thousands of years whilst the humble cockroach goes for millions, or the toothy shark which so far has gone for 60 million years or so. Just finding s bacterium on Europa would be the biggest discovery in our history.

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  53. andrew shearer

    Why is it that all contributors in this debate take almost opposite views? I suggest that for those of who do look at the shared facts concerning evolution, we must agree on this at least, – that the facts are the same for all of us.

    However, what each of us does is interpret the facts according to the ‘world-view’ we hold. Intellectual honesty requires me first to recognise the world-view I hold, and notice how that world-view skews my interpretation of the facts one way or another.

    Second, evidence is not facts, evidence is the result of argument, deduction, or induction, or interpretation of the facts. Your evidence is not always mine, but your facts will always be my facts too, as facts are absolutes.

    Accusations of bigotry, intolerance, etc then begins to appear on these responses because (I suspect) the writers are not recognising their own pre-suppositional beliefs (world-view), whilst rejecting out of hand those with a different world-view.

    In terms of Christianity, the Bible does teach that although human-beings are capable of great creativeness, inventiveness and intelligence, they are by nature blinded to the spiritual and absolute truth of God, Christ and the Gospel.

    The Bible also claims that this spiritual blindness is taken away by an act of Sovereign grace (favour) by God alone.

    Now if these claims are true, then it is no surprise that Peter faces such opposition from others who simply can’t see what he sees.

    I thank God that by His grace He has Sovereignly enlightened Peter’s mind to enable him to make the case for God, and to expose wrong-thinking in terms of the evolutionary debate.

    Does it make Peter better than these other respondents, or someone of a higher intellect than the others. No, of course not. We are what we are by birth, culture and of our own choosing.

    But are you willing to honestly engage with the Bible, or is this something you will never do?

    Both Peter and I came from backgrounds that were pretty much the same as each of you, where we believed mostly what we were told to believe, or what others believed and constructed our own internalised belief system that excludes God, Christ and the Gospel. Now, by God’s grace, we stand opposed to all that exalts itself against the absolute truth contained in the Scriptures.

    Andrew Shearer

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  54. Sandy McDonald

    The difference is that as an atheist / rationalist I would say that on the balance of probility there is not a god. You however choose to believe with all your heart that there is despite no evidence (you can’t all pretty sunsets evidence). This is called faith.

    Science doesn’t work this way (please don’t use intuition as an example of divine guidence). In science you observe a certain aspect of the world and make a guess as to how this works. You then construct a theory using mathematics to describe this observation. If this theory doesn’t agree with nature then your theory is wrong and you start again. If it seems to be correct then is proved wrong years later you start agan.

    Even if the existence of god was proved and he appeared on the Oprea Winfry show I still wouldn’t feel it necessary to fall on knees and praise him/her, because, well, why should I. The world is in quite a shambles, if there is a god then his/her stewardship has been rather careless.

    Oops, just waiting for the usual replies now….

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  55. Laura jamieson

    Peter,I am not offended by anything you have said. What I meant in broader terms was that,what I often hear from religious people,is that I must respect their views. Which should work both ways. You brought the issue into the public domain, I assume with some point..intention?I would not write to the paper,out of the blue,to make some atheistic point…as I have no desire to convert or deconvert anyone. Each to their own, as long as they do not attempt to influence secular areas of life eg schools.
    In fact my own view is that I admire people who “witness” their faith,it must take an awful lot of courage. When anyone turns up at our door to witness, I am polite,and invite them in for debate.
    Andrew,you are correct,in that we all view our worls through certain filters, conformation bias ect…and I repeat,I did not mean to accuse Peter of bigotory. I also do not believe humans are the pinnacle or centre of anything…quite the opposite,as I see what we are doing to the planet,and how we behave to each other.
    You say “In terms of Christianity, the Bible does teach that although human-beings are capable of great creativeness, inventiveness and intelligence, they are by nature blinded to the spiritual and absolute truth of God, Christ and the Gospel.
    The Bible also claims that this spiritual blindness is taken away by an act of Sovereign grace (favour) by God alone.”
    If this is so..then surely your god would appreciate the fact that he caused my spiritual blindness, and that I am willing to debate it!…
    I do not feel superior or inferior to Peter,I do not know him.
    Lastly,I have “engaged” with the bible,I n that I have read it twice ,and I am on my 3rd reading. I have also “studied “ it with various bible study groups. I find it contradictory, cruel, ridiculous…and often beautiful, and profound. This work being no different to any other work of literature.
    I am happy to continue this debate without sinkng to name calling.

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  56. David Spence

    It is good to debate as Laura has commented. Exchanging views and opinions on, what may be regarded, controversial subjects. I respect Peter’s views on his concept of how life began and the meaning of it, but like any topic, there is going to be information, based on evidence, studies and analysis, which will contradict what Peter may say. That said, it does not detract from the fact that we can all contribute to the debate in a civilized, sensible and rational, to a degree, manner where we may be that little bit better off for what has been learned.

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  57. andrew shearer

    The Bible never speaks about God as existing, but always as God who simply IS.

    The name of God from the original Hebrew is YHWH, or (YaHWeH) meaning, ‘I AM’

    The english word ‘exist’ is from two latin words ‘ex’ meaning ‘out’ and ‘ist’ from ‘sisto’ = meaning ‘to stand’ – cummulatively the word means ‘to stand out’.

    This definition of existence implies beginning, but the Scriptures describe God as ‘I AM’ or as the one who is from everlasting to everlasting, or as ‘was, is and is to come.’

    According to Biblical thought therefore, God is eternal, without beginning. To exist, would imply not just a beginning, but having been created. We exist, the universe exists, but God simply IS, is the conclusion of Biblical thought.

    Indeed, according to Biblical thought, existence of the universe and us, is derived from God, and depends upon God upon its continued existence. Whilst God on the other hand is neither dependent (upon anything else) nor derived (from anything else).

    Equally, the first line of the Bible makes this startling assertion of time, force, action, space, and matter. ‘In the beginning, (time) God (force) created (action) the heavens (space) and the earth (matter).

    And Laura, thank you for your honesty, and your contributions, and I would gladly meet with you to discuss issues YOU wanted to raise.

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  58. Peter Jamieson

    Hi Sandy. I am just going to reply the one (that’s all I’m allowed).

    You seem to me to be really quite confused with what counts as ‘evidence’.

    You begin by saying this “I would say that on the balance of probility there is not a god. You however choose to believe with all your heart that there is despite no evidence”

    But I do have evidence. I have my personal account of having come face to face with christ (something I can never deny), I have seen first hand various miracles, have heard the testimonies of countless numbers of people who have experienced similar. There is also the evidence from the bible, the life of Jesus, His ministry, the miracles He performed. There is also a vast array of verification of Scripture, from both the Old and New Testaments, through such disciplines as science, archaeology and so on.

    To say that there is ‘no evidence’ therefore is a false statement.

    Consider this for moment

    Premises and Conclusion:

    1. There is no evidence against the existence of God.
    2. There is at the very least some evidence in favor of the existence of God.
    3. Therefor it is more probable that god exists than that God does not exist.

    What do you think?

    You then make this claim “You then construct a theory using mathematics to describe this observation. If this theory doesn’t agree with nature then your theory is wrong and you start again.”

    But this just goes to sow that you will only consider a ‘natural’ explanation, rejecting everything else before you even begin. So unless ‘nature’ is all there is, you will no doubt keep having to go back and start again.

    Any way, that’s it for me. I think Sandy you have shown me far more faith in what you believe than many Christians I have met, so let me at least commend you for that.

    See you in the Readers Views … nae doot.

    Reply
  59. ian tinkler

    Which God, Peter, which sections of the human race and with devout beliefs have got it so wrong, Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, Catholic, Judaism, and Pagan? Chinese folk religion, Vaishnavism Shaivism, Zoroastrianism, Yazdânism. Khoisan, Akan, Nupe Sanitaria, Voodoo, Candomblé Raëlism Noahidism Scientology and Satanism. Is your God the only one? Do you dismiss the beliefs of all who do not agree with you? Are all those who disagree with you wrong? Do you regard them as misguided and ignorant? My list above is far from comprehensive, all have devout and hold honest beliefs; all have followers whom claim visions and miracles. Many will become martyrs and killers to apostolate their beliefs. How can you claim you know you are right and they are all wrong? The simple truth is, in all rationality science renders us all agnostic, no proof one way or the other. Science and religious beliefs are not mutually exclusive only dogmatic denial of one belief or another is wrong. It’s about time all this gibber now stopped, now, let’s just live and let live, without forcing our own narrow opinions on others…

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  60. Sandy McDonald

    Premises and Conclusion:

    1. There is no evidence against the existence of God.
    2. There is at the very least some evidence in favor of the existence of God.
    3. Therefor it is more probable that god exists than that God does not exist.

    Premises and Conclusion:

    1. There is no evidence against the existence of pink space elephants
    2. Therefore it is more probable that pink space elephants exist than that Pink space elephants do not exist.

    I have actually seen no evidence that god exists I’m afraid, as the police will tell you eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable. A two thousand year old book also cannot be considered particularly reliable.

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  61. John Tulloch

    Science itself is not free of religiosity witness talk of “Gaia” and the dismissal by the faithful of sceptical scientists as “climate change deniers.”

    An Austrian university professor recently asserted on his blog that such heresy should be afforded the death penalty!

    Now we hear that the Met Office, who previously predicted record temperatures for many years in this decade, has taken advantage of the main Christian festival to sneak out its new forecast which is that no further global warming is expected in the next 5 years.

    i.e If the new forecast is correct that will be two decades with global temperature standstill.

    Yet all the time more and more CO2 has been finding its way, one way or another, into the atmosphere?

    Given that catastrophic man-made global warming was unequivocally “settled science” (“97% of scientists can’t be wrong,” was repeated ad nauseam), it’s clear that science isn’t always right – sorry, I’ll rephrase that “it’s clear scientists aren’t always right.”

    Richard Feynman was mentioned earlier, here’s a snippet form his address to Caltech students in 1974.

    “We have learned a lot from experience about how to handle some of
    the ways we fool ourselves. One example: Millikan measured the
    charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops, and
    got an answer which we now know not to be quite right. It’s a
    little bit off, because he had the incorrect value for the
    viscosity of air. It’s interesting to look at the history of
    measurements of the charge of the electron, after Millikan. If you
    plot them as a function of time, you find that one is a little
    bigger than Millikan’s, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than
    that, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, until
    finally they settle down to a number which is higher.

    Why didn’t they discover that the new number was higher right away?
    It’s a thing that scientists are ashamed of–this history–because
    it’s apparent that people did things like this: When they got a
    number that was too high above Millikan’s, they thought something
    must be wrong–and they would look for and find a reason why
    something might be wrong. When they got a number closer to
    Millikan’s value they didn’t look so hard. And so they eliminated
    the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that.
    We’ve learned those tricks nowadays, and now we don’t have that
    kind of a disease.”

    I’m afraid it looks like the catastrophic man-made global warming fraternity have had a relapse of “Millikanitis” and are only gradually inching their way towards the sceptics’ position – understandable, after all they’ve said in the past.

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  62. Robert Sim

    It’s a shame that the view of religious belief that arises out of this topic is of a rather sterile concern (to put it no stronger than that) with how the theory of evolution relates to the question of God’s existence. The theory is clearly seen as a threat to God.

    Is this all the relevance religious belief has in the modern world? What about Jesus’ actions throughout the New Testament in focussing our thoughts on the poor, the weak and the marginalised? What difference should that make, if any, to our behaviour now? What can we learn from the other world faiths – listed by Ian Tinkler above – now that we live in an era in which there is an opportunity to examine the broad themes which connect disparate faiths?

    I don’t turn to science for the answer to moral and ethical questions and questions about existence. But I wouldn’t turn to a defensive theology either.

    Reply
  63. andrew shearer

    Ian Tinkler … “The simple truth is …” Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life…” In response, Pontius Pilate, (the Roman Governor), asked of Christ, ‘What is truth?’

    The truth has certain qualities or attributes. It is rational and therefore reasonable. It is not self-contradictory. Truth is absolute in terms of its ultimate and final reality however well known, or unknown to us.

    Is it rational to believe that the universe has an ultimate cause? Is it rational to believe in an infinite number of causes, infinitely? What was that cause? Is it rational to believe that the universe is the cause of itself? Is it rational to believe that claims to truth that contradict each other (ie Hindu claims to truth, v Christian claims, or Christian claims v all other claims) can all be equally and absolutely true?

    The universe must have an ultimate cause as the universe (this one, or prior universes to this one) cannot be its own material explanation as an infinite number of causes going back infinitely is a self contradiction. Infinite causes going back infinitely must mean there is no beginning, no first cause, therefore there can be no present if there is no beginning or first cause. However, we live in the present.

    God is real or He is not. The Bible is true, or it is not. If the Bible is true, then Hinduism, Islam, etc is not.

    What I am concerned with is whether or not my beliefs, (my internalised version of reality) actually matches what is ultimately true. Beliefs are not just a matter of personal faith, but should be concerned with what is ultimately true or real. I commend Him who made the claim to being the truth to you.

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  64. David Spence

    There is a saying in the Bible – Timothy 6:10 ‘ For the love of money is root of all evil ‘

    Today, never a truer word said, especially if you are money, greedy orientated Capitalist, whose sole purpose is to profit, rip-off, con as many people as is possible for your own gain regardless.

    When it comes to EVIL, CAPITALISM certainly brings out the worst in human nature.

    Reply
  65. ian tinkler

    Andrew, I see no proof whatsoever of the statement “Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life…” In response, Pontius Pilate, (the Roman Governor), asked of Christ, ‘What is truth?’”. Just a 2000 year old story passed on by word of mouth, written without evidential analysis into the bible, translated by unknown people from Hebrew into Latin into English and interpreted always by prejudiced people. Hardly evidential proof of fact, just hear say at best. Do you really belief only you and fellow minded are right, so out of hand you dismiss all who disagree listed below. Is that not a tad arrogant.? (Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, Catholic, Judaism, and Pagan? Chinese folk religion, Vaishnavism Shaivism, Zoroastrianism, Yazdânism. Khoisan, Akan, Nupe Sanitaria, Voodoo, Candomblé Raëlism Noahidism Scientology and Satanism.)

    Reply
  66. Sandy McDonald

    John Tulloch, you do not understand science. No one is embarrassed about getting the wrong charge for an electron. You have totally failed to understand what Feyman was saying. I think if you watch this clip on You Tube (it’s part of the the pleasure of finding things out series) you will realise what he was talking about. Or maybe you won’t.

    I will be making no further contributions to this topic. As Iain Tinkler said, it’s time to stop the gibbering. I will be watching my sky plussed episode of Stargazing live to see if any pink elephants have been spotted.

    Reply
  67. John Tulloch

    Sandy,

    You wrote above (Jan 7th) “My god is Richard Feyman.”

    You are obviously poorly-acquainted with your “god’s” parables – I didn’t say scientists were embarrassed by the lack of scientific rigour deployed when trying to calculate the electrical charge on an electron, RIchard Feynman said it!

    And you have said in your last comment that “no-one was embarrassed” – sounds a bit like heresy to me? I suggest as pennance you write out Feynman’s “Cargo Cult Science” address to Caltech students (1974) fifty times and then recite it at the Market Cross on Saturday afternoon (and no going to the Lounge first!)

    Feynman would have been the first to point out that science is NEVER “settled,” it is simply the best guess at a theory of how things work which must be seen to hold true within its defined limitations, e.g. Newton’s laws of motion are believed not to hold when bodies are moving at very high speed.

    Furthermore, the laws of physics break down at the “Schwarzchild Radius” of “black holes in space” where science tells us that “time as we know it stands still” and nothing, not even light, can escape.

    Yet science also tells us black holes can explode like mini “Big Bangs”- how so if time stands still at their circumference?

    Thus any talk along the lines of “believing in science,” as opposed to Peter’s version of events, is turning science itself into a religion with “faithful” and “infidels” (e.g. “climate change deniers”) hammering away at each other in a similar way to which people have been doing above.

    The point I was trying to make is that if Feyman could see the shenanigans at the Met Office, IPCC, University of East Anglia, etc. during and since “Climate-gate” (“hiding the decline,” etc), he would be spinning in his grave.

    Many scientists are extremely clever and worth listening to however let’s keep “belief” out of science otherwise we’re in trouble.

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  68. Niki Williams

    What made Darwin so absolute, this mere human who could not control his birth and certainly not his death. How is it that the fabric of our society can believe this one little human from the 18th century?

    Does it go deeper, maybe man in themselves hate to admit their wrong doings, having to be accountable to God. Is it far easier to be ones own god who makes the rules, no one higher than ones self!!!

    Being held accountable for our wrong doings would mean having to think about eternity, it would then be far easier to believe in the question of does God exist?

    By saying God doesn’t exist makes a person stand in the place of God declaring that their is no God and by default makes ones self a god which in return is a religion by itself.

    That is unbelievable!

    Lastly: …the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.

    Reply
  69. Gregory Miner

    There are obviously many intelligent people posting here… of whom in that respect I am probably the least. However, maybe my simple mind can scale the questions back some. I’ll keep this brief.

    1. Can I see design in nature?
    2. If there is design, who or what designed it?
    3. Why do I exist?

    Let me first give you the filter. I became a follower of Christ 7 years ago (I’m 37 now). I spent most of my life as a skeptic / agnostic.

    1. I see design. The human body itself is an incredible machine. Romans 1:20 – (states in effect that no one will be able to stand before God and say that they had no way of knowing He exists. His design can be clearly seen in the things that have been made.)
    2. Once I determined that there was a creator, I reasoned that my life had purpose and I began searching for that creator.
    3. Ok… this parts a little deep. If all this is just one big accident that miraculously had no cause or came from nothing… then there is nothing. If there is no consciousness after death, then there will be no memory – no knowledge of existence. None of this matters. Our lives are nothing. But I don’t believe that. Not because I don’t want to, but I believe there is enough evidence to lead a person to the reasonable conclusion that there is design, a designer and purpose.

    Also, If macro-evolution was true, it seems like there would be so much evidence in the fossil record that there would be absolutely no question about it by now. If there really has been billions of years of transitional (species to species) life forms on earth, wouldn’t we have found hundreds of thousands of fossils of these creatures? Each of these transitional forms should have been around for millions of years leaving plenty of time and opportunity for thousands of fossil specimens to be laid it seems.

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  70. Chris Firman

    Further to what John Tulloch said, I took a meteorology course at University in the early 90s at the height of the whole ‘global warming’ / ‘ozone hole’ (remember that?) craze.
    The professor put two slides up on the screen, one showing the extent of the Sahara in 1960, the other showing its (considerably larger) extent in 1990. He then asked us to explain the vast increase in the size of the desert. To a man, everyone piped up, blaming ‘global warming’ and ‘desertification’.
    The professor was furious, and said that we were meant to be intelligent, inquisitive people, but all we were doing was jumping on the band wagon and parroting the sort of rubbish one could read in The Sun. He pointed out that none of us had thought to ask whether or not the photos were taken at the same time of year – in fact, the desert expanded and contracted throughout the year, and no doubt has done for countless millennia and that was all these photos showed.
    In science, just as in every other aspect of life, there is a fear of being the odd one out and challenging the ‘accepted’ ideas of that particular time. Truly great scientists break this mould of course, but most don’t.

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  71. Chris Firman

    David Spence – whereas Socialist states like the USSR, Red China, East Germany, Zimbabwe and North Korea have proven to be some sort of gardens of Eden?

    Reply
  72. Luke Sandison

    Sandy McDonald. The Difference between a Tape Worm and Ourselves is that we act through free will and have a Soul! By the way this massive list of comments leaves me with one conclusion that the Story i read about Peter Jamieson has surely changed people’s lives in some way or other. My View on God as Creator is that through the eyes of a Child you see Jesus’s love for his people, for the innocence in a Child Puts Gods love for humankind into ones conscience. I think you only need look to the true Story of Anneliese Michel http://historicmysteries.com/the-disturbing-exorcisms-and-death-of-anneliese-michel/ I would like to personally thank Peter Jamieson for sharing his Amazing Story. God works in Wonderful ways

    Reply
  73. Peter Jamieson

    Gregory Miner has made an excellent point, and one that I have used on occasions on various debating forums “If there really has been billions of years of transitional (species to species) life forms on earth, wouldn’t we have found hundreds of thousands of fossils of these creatures?”
    It is indeed a very simply observation to make, that the fossils of the earth have yet to yield what could be termed ‘transitional’, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference to ‘evolutionists’. When you point this out to them they will normally give you 3 very good reasons:

    1. The fossil record is incomplete
    2. All fossils are ‘transitional’, even if they don’t show a steady line of transition leading from one creature into another.
    3. Or, you don’t understand how ‘evolution’ works (normally calling you an ‘ignorant creationist’)

    But you are right Gregory. There are no transitional fossils for us to look at, and if you ask me that is a major problem for the theory.

    Darwin himself acknowledged that this was one of the biggest problems with his theory, the lack of fossil evidence, but he believed that over time these fossils would turn up. However, what we find in over 150 years since he proposed his theory is that the fossil record has actually caused more problems that he could have imagined possible. If Darwin had been alive today he would have scrapped his theory on those grounds alone. He wouldn’t have had any choice.

    When I first began to look into this I believed, even though I had become a Christian, all life evolved from less complex ancestors. But I soon began to discover that the actual evidence for this doesn’t actually exist. In most cases the actual evidence is ‘hypothesised’, for instance like the imaginary ancestor to the whale. Some scientists believe it was a ‘wolf’ like creature, others that it was a ‘deer’ like creature, and others still believe that it was a ‘hippo’ like creature. Whatever these scientists believehowever, and as different as their beliefs may be, they do at least have one thing in common – they lack any real evidence. And it is exactly the same for every creature that has ever swum, crawled, walked, and flown upon this planet. As it says in the headline – where is the evidence?

    Hi Luke,

    I hadn’t seen that particular clip before, it really is very disturbing to think that the voices you can hear coming from her might actually be the voices of real demons (ps. that clip is not for the faint hearted).

    I have had many experiences with dark forces, some from my child hood, right through my adult hood especially to do with drugs taking, and some are still going on today. There are some things that I can never deny – God is real, and demons exist. A lot of people just don’t realise what surrounds us, and maybe it’s just as well for them.

    Here’s another such case for you to look at.

    http://www.wnd.com/2008/03/58835/

    Thank you for your words of encouragement Luke. It really has been much appreciated.

    Reply
  74. John Tulloch

    What would you say to the argument that if there are a trillion stars, each with a dozen or more planets, amidst (“scientists say”) possibly a trillion or more universes that we know nothing about, that by the law of averages, life would have accidentally evolved in varying degrees of sophistication in at least a few places, possibly too distant in both space and time to ever know each other existed; and that the only reason we are discussing it is because we happen to be in one of those few lucky places (and times) where local conditions favoured our development?

    That is to say, yes, everything has an amazing design and could it all be, simply, a fluke – like me playing Gary Casparov at chess often enough that I eventually played a perfect game and defeated him, purely by chance (someone would have to remind me about the rules first!)?

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  75. David Spence

    No Chris Firman, I am not saying that socialist state run countries are ‘ gardens of Eden ‘, but if you want some figures regarding my previous statement and looking at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of social and political run systems,

    there is a country, not that far away, that is 4.5% of the worlds population,
    consumes 31% of all global resources
    produces 24.5% of the worlds pollution
    Is directly and indirectly responsible for 78 conflicts around the world in the past 100 years (mainly due to arms sales and this countries banks providing loans to the devastated countries thereafter, WW1 and WW2 being prime examples)
    Is directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of over 51 million people and keeping over 1.8 billion people in poverty
    This country made over £67 billion in arms sales in the year 2011
    This country is one of the worlds biggest arms dealers
    This country has been responsible for the deaths of 47 Presidents/Prime Ministers, Diplomats, Royal Heads of State
    Has provided Financial and Military backing (selling of weapons) to, what we would now call, 31 Terrorist Organisations

    What a lovely garden this country portrays in the name of Capitalism – What is it? Oh, yes ‘ For the Love of Money is root of all EVIL ‘.

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  76. Robert Lowes

    If you believe – truly believe in god, scripture, the bible, fine. Go worship whoever/whatever you like in the Kirk, Synagogue, Mosque, Temple, whatever floats your boat. However, “Intelligent Design”- which is simply creationist Christian Fundamentalism by a different name – has no place whatsoever in the classroom when it comes to the sciences.

    Already in the UK, the National Recognition Information Centre (a government agency which advises universities and employers on the validity of different qualifications), has decided that the International Certificate of Christian Education (ICCE) is comparable to qualifications set by the Cambridge International Exam Board.

    ICCE is heavily based on Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), a program developed in Texas in the 1970s. Around 50 private Christian schools in the UK teach these qualifications, with most textbooks being based around biblical teaching.

    Claims made in ICCE science & history books include

    • the Loch Ness monster, which “appears to be a plesiosaur” from photographs, helps to disprove evolution;

    • apartheid was beneficial to South Africa; reasons include the claim that segregated schools “made it possible for each group to maintain and pass on their culture and heritage to their children”;

    • “unquestionable proofs” and “unarguable evidences” existed for creationism.

    Of course, they also deny Darwinian Evolution along with various other scientifically validated natural phenomena, including solar fusion, as well as mendaciously claim that humans existed alongside dinosaurs.

    These complete distortions of fact alone mean that Intelligent Design should be thrown out of the classroom. Evolutionary science is key in understanding how viruses change and how cancers develop. It draws on chemistry and biology and even the laws of physics. The nonsensical position that creationists would like us to adopt would threaten our understanding of these sciences and stagnate medical and scientific advancement by dressing up theology as something it’s not.

    The simple fact of the matter is that people advocating teaching Intelligent Design in schools are in fact advocating teaching fundamental untruths to children. That to me is unacceptable, irrespective of what your beliefs may or may not be.

    Sources:

    Times Education Supplement:
    http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6019140

    The Guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/jul/31/creationist-exams-comparable-to-a-levels

    Leaving Fundamentalism
    http://leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/top-5-lies-told-by-accelerated-christian-education/

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  77. ian tinkler

    I totally agree with Robert here. I would add the following, how and why would any benevolent God intelligently design and create Onchocerca volvulus? Please will anyone who advocates intelligent design answer that question. (Onchocerca volvulus is a human parasite that slowly eats the eyes of young children causing blindness “River blindness”). Also what is intelligent in the design of Childhood leukaemia, Osteo sarcoma and human papilloma virus? These hardly appear to follow the teachings outlined in “New Testament” of compassion, kindness and a forgiving God.

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  78. Ian Right

    Mr. Tinkler, hope this can help
    Isaiah 55:8-9..perhaps from a spiritual rather than from a human viewpoint

    Reply
  79. ian tinkler

    Ian Right, which translation of the bible, Hebrew, Greek, Latin or English?

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  80. Chris Firman

    David Spence

    Would this mystery country also be the one that sent millions of her young men across the Atlantic to fight and die in the defeat of Nazi Germany, and to liberate the nations of Continental Europe?
    I am unsure how you think ‘providing loans to the devastated countries’ in the wake of WW2 in any way makes this nation responsible for wars. Perhaps you can provide some examples.

    And are you suggesting that Socialist countries do not trade arms? Or support terrorist groups? Or wage wars?

    If not, I am not entirely sure what point you are trying to make.

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  81. Peter Jamieson

    “What would you say to the argument that if there are a trillion stars, each with a dozen or more planets, amidst (“scientists say”) possibly a trillion or more universes that we know nothing about, that by the law of averages, life would have accidentally evolved in varying degrees of sophistication in at least a few places, possibly too distant in both space and time to ever know each other existed; and that the only reason we are discussing it is because we happen to be in one of those few lucky places (and times) where local conditions favoured our development?!”

    Well John the first thing I would ask is how that causes a problem for the belief that God created everything, out of nothing, so to speak. And secondly I would ask but what if there is only this universe and life is exclusive to this planet? Would that in your eyes prove God’s existence.

    As we have already shown there is at least some evidence that God exists, plenty of it in fact. But there is absolutely no evidence that He doesn’t exist, just like there is no evidence for life on other planets, or for that matter for the multiverse hypothesis (M-theory) that you have rather finely described above.

    The multiverse was a concept contrived to somehow offer an answer to the fine tuning problem that scientists face. As you are well aware the fine tuning of this universe is something that can’t be dismissed, it is, as many scientists have described, something that appears to have been deliberately designed, and that it somehow had life in mind.

    Robert Lowes,

    You seem to have thrown together so many inaccuracies about ID (Intelligent Design) that i wonder if you really know what it is?

    http://www.intelligentdesign.org/whatisid.php

    Here is a link to site that will give you a good understanding of what ID is, and what it isn’t.

    As for your attack on the ICE, well I’m sorry but I have no comment really. I mean there are quite a number of institutions of this kind, some good, some not so good, and i simply don’t know enough about this praticular group to offer any opinions on it.

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  82. Peter Jamieson

    Roberts Lowes,

    I have had a look at the articles sited and I didn’t have to search for very long to find problems with their description of what is supposedly being taught.

    First things first, is this an unbiased, accurate account of what the school teaches?

    Also can you show me, where it says that ‘the Loch Ness monster helps to disprove evolution’, is actual evidence against evolution?

    Also can you show me why this statement should not be made in a history class ‘apartheid was beneficial to South Africa; reasons include the claim that segregated schools “made it possible for each group to maintain and pass on their culture and heritage to their children”;?

    And lastly, do you think there doesn’t exist ‘evidence for creationism’?

    Honest answers now. After all you seem to think this somehow proves a point.

    How exactly does any of the above statments in those articles point to the unreasonableness of ‘creationism’, let alone that of ‘Inteligent Design’?

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  83. Ian Right

    Mr.Tinkler, I didn’t take you for an old testament scholar, but i am sure your friend Mr Lubbe would be only too helpful if (you are truly seeking) in getting you to the ‘root’ of it.

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  84. ian tinkler

    Ian Right, are you having a problem answering my question? Isaiah 55:8-9 in any modern translation, could well have been written by Goebbels, about Hitler, justifying The Final Solution. A 3000 year old text in the Bible hardly carries much credence in justifying what is certainly not intelligent design in any form whatsoever.

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  85. Robert Lowes

    Peter, I could give any number of reasons as to why the statement “apartheid was beneficial to South Africa” is completely false. Or, you could go and ask a black person. But don’t be surprised if you get a short and pithy answer.

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  86. Peter Jamieson

    “Peter, I could give any number of reasons as to why the statement “apartheid was beneficial to South Africa” is completely false. Or, you could go and ask a black person. But don’t be surprised if you get a short and pithy answer.”

    I don’t think you understand what I’m asking. I am not asking whether or not “apartheid was beneficial to South Africa” but why it shouldn’t be discussed in a class?

    To be perfectly honest I can see many reasons why a history teacher would bring this up in class.

    For instance do you think it would be right for a history teacher to explain to his pupils how it benefited modern day America when it almost wiped out the native Americans and took heir land from them? Or do you think it would be wrong for a history teacher to describe how using slaves benefited the British empire?

    No, of course not. Because like they are describing about ‘Apartheid in South Africa’, it is a fact and should be taught as such.

    Now, what about the other points?

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  87. Ian Right

    Mr.Tinkler, was I trying to answer your question?
    Maybe I was just giving you a few pointers ‘perhaps’ its all about faith. If I remember correctly the Bible as you call it or as Christians call it ‘The Word of God’ says in the book of Hebrews in the new testament chapter 11 and verse 1..”Now ‘faith’ is the substance of things hoped for, the ‘evidence’ of things not seen.” …they obviously have a great faith and a great hope set before them don’t you think?
    I do wonder if there are really any intelligent Atheists out there that can prove to us, without any doubt, that the God of the Christian does not actually exist…anyone?
    What we probably need is the wisdom of someone like Solomon to understand it all,( that’s assuming that he did actually live), someone commented on a verse in Proverbs which they said summed up the wisdom of mankind, Proverbs chapter 26 and verse 12 (that’s if you believe it).

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  88. ian tinkler

    Matthew 19:14 and Isaiah 55:8-9: which is the truth? Now all you believers in intelligent design, tell me about Ewing’s tumour, congenital syphilis, childhood sarcoma. Explain just what is intelligent, kind and merciful here.

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  89. andrew shearer

    I am thrilled for Peter, and for Christ, that Peter’s original letter has generated such an amazing amount of responses, however hotly argued against or for.

    May God grant wisdom, discernment, love and minds that are open to objective truth in any continuing discussion.

    May contributors be seeking truth humbly, as we are all students in the school of life, we all know so little of in terms of what is ultimate reality. What each of us have in common is our shared ignorance of this universe.

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  90. Chris Firman

    Robert Lowes

    The alternative, however, was to plunge South Africa into the same lunacy of ‘one man, one vote – once’ which was inflicted on rest of Africa. The mindless post-War rush to enforce Western-style democracy on uneducated, tribally-based societies did not prove to be ‘beneficial’ to any of those countries. The fact is that, throughout the Apartheid years, the blacks in South Africa were the richest in Africa.

    Of course Apartheid was unfair and an unpleasent system in many ways (and there can be no doubt that all South Africans would have been better off had direct British Colonial rule continued, rather than letting the Afrikaners dominate politics) but only someone who has not lived and worked in Africa would claim it had ‘no’ benefits. I have lived and worked all over Africa for over 20 years, and currently live in South Africa. After 19 years of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ (aka. rule by an incompetent, corrupt, kleptomanic elite who favour their tribal groupings and demand slavish loyalty to ‘the party’), there are actually plenty of black South Africans who will tell you they were better off in ‘the old days’.
    Cross the Limpopo into Zimbabwe, and you’ll struggle to find any blacks who prefer Mugabe’s rule to that of Ian Smith’s ‘racist’ Rhodesia.

    In Africa, things are never as simple as the BBC would have you believe. As Sir Winston Churchill said in 1954: ‘I am a bit sceptical about universal suffage for the Hottentots, even if refined by proportional representation. The British and American democracies were slowly and painfully forged and even they are not perfect yet’.

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  91. Kenny Gear

    Interesting conversation and having known Peter for many years, knowing him to be a likeable, intelligent and good hearted friend I fully concur with and would echo Ali’s comment;

    “It does not matter because in this instance Jesus really did save Peter, and having this faith has enabled him to give up drugs and make a contribution to society both through his work in a care home and his work with drug users in society helping them try and kick the habit, or with his book that if it persuades just one youngster to give the whole drug scene a miss will be worth every word. So well done PJ here is one atheist at least that is glad you have taken the path you have, and that you are still with us on this journey through life” Amen to that.

    Having said that, regarding evolution, from my personal perspective I find it difficult to see how anyone reading the Old Testament could come to any other conclusion than that Yaweh, if he/it exists, is far from a pleasant entity and could not possibly have created the universe because this diabolical, dumbed down “literature” is full of rape, murder, genocide, war, gross intolerance and other horrors – supposedly in his name.

    The whole defining point of the Abrahamic religions – that Abraham was prepared to murder his own son to prove his devoutness is to me an utterly evil abomination which I very much resent being taught or rather indoctrinated into believing as something “good” as a child. What sort of twisted, evil monster would deliberately cause this trauma to a young boy, (whose perspective is conveniently ignored) never mind his (I would presume actually bi-cameral, delusional) father for such a trivial purpose? An “all knowing” being creating the universe, knowing how things would unfold, would bring about such a situation never mind a “creation” in which souls burn in hell for eternity? I don’t think this is in any way reasonable – hence the whole creationist rejection of evolution is for me a fallacy. While some studies are beginning to indicate that there is more to evolution than Darwin’s theory, there can be no doubt whatsoever that the universe is evolving in some sense and is in constant flux.

    While the very limited account of the life of Joshua Ben Joseph (AKA “Jesus”) indicates his teachings were moderate and “good” promoting the reformation of Judaism and encouraging the higher aspects of human nature, this account (which varies from one book of the new testament to another) also indicates that he nevertheless claimed he was the son of the abominable narcissist, “Yaweh” the “jealous” war god of the Jews, proclaiming his greatness. For me this philosophically deeply negates “Jesus” worthiness as a man or being of integrity.

    Regarding the many commendable, moderate, live and let live comments above or those who would shut down the debate I have to admit to personally holding a different possibly less tolerant view;

    Having been raised (or should I say indoctrinated without any choice in the matter) in the Protestant tradition I see manyfold issues with parents teaching children their irrational personal beliefs – in other words “Faith” – particularly when this includes concepts such as fathers preparing to murder their children, burning forever in hell etc. This is arguably tantamount to child abuse by modern standards, and it is easy to think of many similar actions that would have the social services at your door….

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  92. Peter Jamieson

    Again I would like to ask Robert Lowes to explain why the points raised in the Guardian article so damning?

    As I have pointed out there are many reasons why such a discussion on ‘Apartheid in south Africa’, for both the Natives and the Afrikaners, as facts need to be taught. I have looked through as much literature as I can on this subject and I don’t see why you think this shouldn’t be discussed or taught as part of a history class study.
    Also what is so wrong about teaching that the Loch Ness monster may have been a Plesiosaur, and, that it may still exist? Has it been proved otherwise? You also haven’t explained to me how the writer of the article arrives at the conclusion that they believe this somehow ‘disproves evolution’?

    And finally, why shouldn’t this particular Christian school teach that ‘Unquestionable proofs’ or ‘unarguable evidences’ exist for creation? I’m not going to begin arguing for or against ‘6 day creationist teaching’, as it is a very complex issue, but in its defence I will ask you why you, and the writers of those articles, should take such umbrage at it.

    As I said in a previous post I began to study this issue, not when I first became a Christian but a little later when I heard a scientist speak about the ‘evidence for creation’. I went home after that meeting, searched the internet for information about it, and after 5 years of doing so with great confidence I can say that there is more evidence for creation than there is for Darwinian evolution, or life happening by chance alone and the evolution of all species from less complex beginnings.

    We could discuss discoveries at the molecular level which every day turn up to falsify Darwin’s theory, we could discuss cosmology and how it aligns itself with Scripture, in fact there are quite a number of things we could look at. But one of the most obvious is the ‘fossil record’.

    As I have pointed out on here one of the biggest problems facing ‘evolutionists’ is the lack of transition fossils. Well it’s not simply a lack; it’s the sheer non-existence of any, which is the problem.

    So, if Darwinian evolution’ fails here, can ‘creation’ do any better. Put another way – would it be fair for a Christian school to teach the non-existence of transitional fossils and evidence for ‘creation’?

    The thing is you see both ‘creationists’ and ‘evolutionists’ have the same evidence to look at, it’s just that each has their own starting point as to how the evidence is viewed. ‘Evolutionists’ believe in an old earth (4 billion years) and that natural selection acting on random mutations is accountable for the diversity of life on the planet. ‘Creationists’ on the other hand believe that the earth is young (6,000 years old) and that all living things were created just as they are.

    Now let’s take a quick look at who has the most evidence on this matter, and which one requires more faith to believe:

    Evolution = no fossils found to date that link one species to another. General scientific opinion on the handful of possible ‘Transitional fossils’, like Archaeopteryx and Ardipithicus etc ‘highly questionable’.

    Creation = all fossils found to date show ‘stasis’, or that each creature is found in its complete state, with no evidence for anything prior to or leading from, as is to be expected if what the bible teaches is true.

    Here is an excellent documentary about many aspects of what we are discussing. I would advise anyone viewing this to watch it from the beginning.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UASU-AjPA7M&feature=player_embedded#!

    Failing that allow for it to buffer up then watch from the 1:27 mark onwards.

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  93. Gordon Harmer

    “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
    ― Albert Einstein

    “Religion is like a pair of shoes…..Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.”
    ― George Carlin

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  94. Ian Right

    Mr Shearer I would agree with you on all those points.
    Mr Tinkler, I think your Bible must be worn out by now, but could I ask you another question?
    You asked “which is the truth?” and looking back you answered Mr Shearer as regards a man called Pilate who asked a similar question to the Lord Jesus Christ “What is truth?”(John chapter 18 verse 38), just out of curiosity what did the Lord Jesus Christ answer? and also what did Pilate say after his ‘answer’?

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  95. Peter Jamieson

    Hello Kenny, thank you for your kind words of support and also for your contribution to this discussion. However, I would like to point out a few misgivings with one or two points you have raised thus far.

    ‘Having said that, regarding evolution, from my personal perspective I find it difficult to see how anyone reading the Old Testament could come to any other conclusion than that Yaweh, if he/it exists, is far from a pleasant entity and could not possibly have created the universe because this diabolical, dumbed down “literature” is full of rape, murder, genocide, war, gross intolerance and other horrors – supposedly in his name.’

    In this opening statement Kenny you somehow find God’s character doesn’t fit in with your perspective of ‘evolution’. I just don’t see how this works to be honest. Yes the bible depicts various wars, promotes genocide, has cases of rape, even murder, but that in itself is not an argument against ‘Creation’, or for that matter a ‘creator’. As you know the OT, from beginning to end, tells many stories, but its main purpose was to document the arrival of the Messiah, and therefore what needed to happen to ensure it.

    Many people read the OT and see what you have seen and consider it vile, or diabolical, that such a God would allow certain things to happen, but overall, I think it tells a very real story of what needed to take place, whether we agree with it or not, to fullfil His promise.

    I used to wonder myself why certain things had to happen the way the OT says it did, and find it incredible that God would have needed to resort to such methods, but having seen what is achieved I have to say ‘okay I maybe don’t understand it fully, or particularly like it, but thank you God for making a way for us’.

    People talk about the wars depicted in the OT and are astonished that God would have allowed some things to have happened, or would have ordered acts of genocide perhaps, to fulfill His plans, but when looking at what man does in the world today without God (communism for instance) it is pretty light weight. Did you know that the atheist ideals of Communism have killed as many people in the last century than have died in all the wars of the world previously? Did you know that more people die in America in 1 year from natural causes than died in 4,000 years of war as depicted in the bible. The list quite frankly goes on.

    Kenny, I fully respect your views and even sympathies with you on many levels, but it is something I have learned to accept as I have discovered the truth of God, and although I by no means understand it all, I am therefore quite confident that God is justified in all He has done.

    Hope you guys are well, and hope to catch up with you next time you are in Shetland.

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  96. Peter Jamieson

    Hi Alistair,

    Thanks for your contribution. But as a one time evolutionist myself, resources like you have just postd are the very things that confirmed for me that ‘evolution’ was indeed true.

    However, as I have already mentioned on here Idecided to look at the so called evidence myself,to see if it really does corroborate Darwins theory, and after 5 years of doing so i can quite cofidenly day that it doesn’t.

    I am well aware of various ‘evolution’ sites, that display all sorts of so called ‘evidences’, for instance Talk Origins and bird evolution. But when you dig a little deeper you will find that the supposed evidence is greatly conflated.

    As I have said I would gladly come and discuss this with you. It won’t take long for you to find ‘evidence’ that supposidly supports ‘evolution’, and in turn I can show you many ‘peer reviewed scientific papers’ that after further analysis of the said ‘fossils’ show that ‘evolution’ has not occured.

    Why don’t you site, for all to see, 1 such example of what you consider conclusive evidence for ‘evolution’?

    Have a look through some of the resources you have sited and choose 1 that you think proves your point.

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  97. Peter Jamieson

    Hi Alistair,

    Look the internet is full of ‘pro-evolution’ websites, even some very respectful ones too, but when you begin to scratch beneath the surfice of what they site as ‘evidence of transitional fossils’ what you find is very different.

    Why don’t you find the best example you can, look for any scientific papers that corroborate it, keeping in mind the sources of theses papers, and then check out the general opinion from independant sources?

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  98. John Tulloch

    Peter J,

    It is said “God created man in His own image” and indeed the omnipotent God of the Old Testament reminds us of many leaders in human history who, having acquired total power, used it vengefully and cruelly to advance their own “purpose.”

    Isn’t this model more in line with the reciprocal phrase “Man created God in His own image”?

    Alternative schools of thought exist in which “God is love” and found in everything and everyone – clearly incompatible with the acts of violence and genocide and creation of the scourges of humanity to which Ian Tinkler refers; others such as Buddhism do not accept the existence of a “creator” however they insist that everything in the universe is inextricably connected and indeed, a gentle, caring attitude not dissimilar to Christian ideals, is recommended for adherents.

    Do you believe the Bible, literally, as written i.e. where God is represented as an egotistical old man who sits up in the sky directing thunderbolts towards opponents and detractors or do you think any of these other interpretations are valid?

    In particular, is your God a vengeful one or a forgiving one?

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  99. Mathew Nicolson

    We’re studying South Africa during Apartheid in Advanced Higher History at the moment, and it is true that we’ve never had a discussion on whether Apartheid was beneficial to South Africa or not. From what we’re learning and the knowledge we’re gathering from a wide range of sources (mostly written by South Africans; not just the BBC!) I’m not entirely sure if it’s possible for the black population to be worse off now than they were then. Zuma’s South Africa may have many flaws, but at least now everyone, even those without a substantial education – who actually ought to be listened to more than perhaps any other group – can voice their opinions without being arrested, or ‘banned’, or even killed (as, say, Steve Biko famously was).

    Before the Europeans arrived to ‘civilise’ the native Africans, the tribal system appears to have worked. Perhaps it was wrong to impose our ideas of democracy upon Africa, but that’s certainly better than imposing our ideas of racial inferiority and authoritarianism as Apartheid did for forty years. I admit I can’t speak from experience in saying these things, but it is the widely accepted historical interpretation.

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  100. andrew shearer

    Kenny Gear, I note and appreciate your comments regarding YHWH, and your account of His actions both in terms of His Abrahamic covenant, and dealings with Abraham and Isaac, also the concerns raised about the Biblical witness of rapes, genocide, etc.

    Also appreciate your acknowledgement on the one hand of Christ (as far as can be gleaned from historical witnesses) represented some progressive teachings, but on the other hand, His worthiness as a man of integrity is negated with His attachment to the abominable war god of the Jews.

    And finally, your point about parents passing on their faith to their children being tantamount to child abuse by modern standards.

    Please, this may seem like a long-winded reply, but I graciously ask your favour to recognise that these important issues raised in your response cannot be dealt with whimsically, or briefly. Please indulge me.

    If I may address your last point first. You may be absolutely correct in your conclusion here, but knowledge, as with many other things, abhors a vacuum. Our lives, belief systems and world views are all based upon some form of knowledge that is related to us, first by parents, then by other adults, teachers, peers, etc. In any young life, there is a range of sources that compete for a place in that person’s world-view. At a practical or pragmatic level, how do we choose which knowledge is relevant, and who will approve that knowledge base given to every child? The Nazis, and state educators of Stalin’s USSR, and Mao’s China, or Pol Pot in Cambodia? Perhaps these are bad examples, but it seems to me, that humanity still insists on some freedom of choice, both in terms of what a person ought to know, and what a person can choose to know. Now for everyone, (at least very many people) knowledge is ‘value-laden’ and therefore some knowledge is more important than other knowledge. Is this morally wrong?

    Your first point about this aggressive, etc YHWH of the Jews. If your understanding (interpetation) of the sacred texts of the Old and New Testaments is correct, then you make a good case for your atheism, and I ought to be an atheist with you standing against such a god.

    However, a mistake made by many when they approach this text (sacred or not), is to see what these writings says for itself. How does the Bible (Greek for book) itself generally give us understanding as to how to interpret correctly? But of course, we should first understand that the Bible was not a book that was written over a few weeks, but written progressively over a few thousand years, by many different authors from many different locations, and in many different situations.

    Their method of interpretation included some key rules. First, that an authentic witness or contributor (or prophet) to this book we call the Bible should never lead people away from YHWH, whom they believed was the one true and living God as revealed to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. (Deut ch13)

    Second, the Sacred Texts should be interpreted ‘existentially’. That is, what it says to me personally, or to the nation, in terms of the immediate situation or crisis. The crisis for example facing the youth being offered for sacrifice by his father Abraham. On the contrary to your assertion, the Bible does say much about young Isaac and his perspective. We see in this drama, the young boy or adult, particularly if we take some time to dwell upon Isaac’s response to this dramatic crisis unfolding before him. “And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” We notice in the unfolding crisis that Isaac is a willing participant in this drama, and is commended by later writers for his faith, as is Abraham, whom (if you read the passage closely) left his servants at the foot of Mount Moriah with the promise that he and his son would soon return to them. Again later writers commend this faith of Abraham.

    The point is that faith is both reasonable, and at the same time existentially testing. If we are to believe the earlier accounts given to us by Abraham, then his faith is based upon a number of real and dramatic personal encounters with YHWH, that sustains him in this time of crisis.

    Third, the Sacred Texts should be interpreted ‘prophetically’ in terms of what it reveals about YHWH, Christ, ourselves, or the situations they encountered.

    Your case in point about Abraham and Isaac is interpreted prophetically (not on a mere whim by me or others) but because we take our lead for interpretation from the book itself. That is, how does it understand this drama? We find that the texts progressively reveal prophetic truths about Christ Himself, both in terms of Christ as the Son of God (whom Isaac portrays), as the ‘willing’ sacrifice, and God the Father (whom Abraham portrays), as the Father who is willing to give of His Son to save sinners.

    Indeed the whole sacrificial system pointed to the horror and bloody consequences of sin, and the love of God that in the dispensation of the Old Testament allowed a way of escape from sin through the blood of animals, and pointing to Christ who became that ultimate lamb of God who would take away the sins of His people.

    What we see consistently in the Old Testament is a God of grace, in terms of His moral law, and the limits he placed on punishment, ‘an eye for an eye’, whilst at the same time, reminding the people that ‘vengeance’ is the sole prerogative of God, not man. In case someone did take vengeance, provision was provided for the innocent by retreating to a city of refuge. Again, these were to be understood ‘typically’ and ‘prophetically’ of God’s provision of salvation through Christ.

    Personally, I only see the love, goodness and grace of God in these texts you mention, and supremely in Christ who claimed to be God. Indeed, He said when you have seen me you have seen my Father, and I and my Father are One, and He is in me and I am in Him. It is God, I believe, who loved me and gave His life (human life) for me, so that I might be saved from the consequences of my sin, in terms of my unbelief, rebellion and moral declension.

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  101. ian tinkler

    Ian Right, in answer to yours “What is truth” review the following texts. εἶπεν οὖν αὐτῷ ὁ Πιλᾶτος• Οὐκοῦν βασιλεὺς εἶ σύ; ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Σὺ λέγεις ὅτι βασιλεύς εἰμι. ἐγὼ εἰς τοῦτο γεγέννημαι καὶ εἰς τοῦτο ἐλήλυθα εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἵνα μαρτυρήσω τῇ ἀληθείᾳ• πᾶς ὁ ὢν ἐκ τῆς ἀληθείας ἀκούει μου τῆς φωνῆς. λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πιλᾶτος• Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια; Καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν πάλιν ἐξῆλθεν πρὸς τοὺς Ἰουδαίους, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς• Ἐγὼ οὐδεμίαν εὑρίσκω ἐν αὐτῷ αἰτίαν•
    Dixit itaque ei Pilatus: “ Ergo rex es tu? ”. Respondit Iesus: “ Tu dicis quia rex sum. Ego in hoc natus sum et ad hoc veni in mundum, ut testimonium perhibeam veritati; omnis, qui est ex veritate, audit meam vocem “Dicit ei Pilatus: “ Quid est veritas? ”. Et cum hoc dixisset, iterum exivit ad Iudaeos et dicit eis: “ Ego nullam invenio in eo causam. ”
    Pilate therefore ſaide unto him, Art thou a King then? Ieſus answered, Thou ſaieſt that I am a King. To this end was I borne, and for this cauſe came I into the world, that I ſhould beare witneſſe unto the trueth: euery one that is of the trueth heareth my uoice. Pilate ſaith unto him, What is trueth? And when hee had ſaid this, he went out againe unto the Iewes, and ſaith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
    You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.”
    AS you can see the meanings are entirely dependant on the translations and interpretation can be many and varied. Like all of your Biblical quotes they can be distorted and prejudiced by translation. Not definitive evidence of anything, just opinions or beliefs of long dead scribes. True meaning, perhaps lost in history and translation.
    Ref : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_18:38

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  102. Ali Inkster

    Mathew before you swallow everything your teachers tell you please compare the conditions in Soweto and the other townships of South Africa to the slums of Luanda and Bulawayo, while the treatment of the blacks in South Africa may have been below that of the white population it was considerably better than the treatment they received at the hands of their fellow blacks in the rest of Africa.
    In fact ask a resident of Soweto today if his lot has improved or gotten worse since the end of apartheid, you may be surprised at their answer.

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  103. Ian Right

    Mr Tinkler
    I thank you and appreciate the time you have taken in expressing your view(s).
    Perhaps you may need a higher help in searching for the Truth in the form of what Mr Peter Jamieson says he personally saw or, even dare I say it, what a man called Saul of Tarsus saw in Acts 9, both had a transforming effect in these mens lives.
    There was another man in Luke chapter 16 , verses 19-31, but he left it too late. Verse 31 is interesting (if you believe it)
    While we’re on translations, I would be interested in your take of 1st Corinthians chapter 2 verse 14-there are many translations on the link, but all have the same meaning
    Ref : http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+2%3A14&version=KJV

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  104. leslie sinclair

    What Cain said to God after he murdered his brother Abel. “Am I my brothers keeper?”

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  105. leslie sinclair

    I wrote about what Cain said to God after he murdered Abel. Apartheid was there because of one race hating another. It had to come to an end because it wasn’t fair and just. Cain hated his brother Abel so he killed him. Steve Biko was killed for the same reason and because he wanted a just society. Some people like injustice and the satisfaction of ruling over others oppressively like Hitler,etc. We don’t live in a perfect world. If it was nothing like Apartheid would have happened.

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  106. Robert Sim

    Looking at Ian Tinkler’s post about the supposed variations in meaning between different translations of the same Biblical text, I have to disagree with the point Mr Tinkler is attempting to make. The two English texts are clearly completely consistent with one another and in turn with the Latin. My Ancient Greek is too rudimentary for me to pass comment.

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  107. Mathew Nicolson

    In response to Ali, as I mentioned we have also read a number of publications written by South African historians from a variety of viewpoints; liberal, revisionist, marxist, etc. Many of these books are independently procured by us for the purpose of writing a dissertation, so the information I’m congesting is by no means filtered by our teachers. Nearly all of these books take the view that Apartheid was not beneficial to South Africa. Certainly I have never come across a historian with Marxist views arguing that South Africa was better off back then, and they are the ones who would be considering social issues above all else.

    It seems to me that someone from Soweto may simply be glad they can protest against governmental decisions without resulting in the massacre of hundreds, as happened in 1976. I couldn’t comment on living standards, but I would argue that the legacy of Apartheid won’t have vanished after merely nineteen years. Bad governance today doesn’t excuse worse governance in the past. If there has still been no progress in fifty years time to alleviate poverty then I’d concede there may be more evidence to back up your point.

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  108. Robert Sim

    Re-reading Mr Tinkler’s post, it seems to me important to understand that while the Bible may be in one sense “just opinions or beliefs of long dead scribes”, the interesting point about religions is the fact that believers treat these texts as relevant and influential in their lives now. Faith is part of human nature and continues to exert a powerful influence, for good and sometimes evil, in human society. That is of course irrespective of the “truth” or otherwise of any particular religion’s teachings. Because it isn’t the truth that’s important: it’s the believing.

    This first letter on this page from the Herald’s letters recently is worth reading: http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/letters/faith-still-persists-because-we-cannot-rebel-against-religious-conviction.19770548

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  109. ian tinkler

    Try Biblical Hebrew, Robert Sim, that was the original text of most of The Bible. If your ancient Greek is a bit rusty, just how you can possible believe the accuracy of translations of the bible into Latin and English.

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  110. leslie sinclair

    The English language has many words for the same meaning. There are lots of Bible translations and versions. Niv,etc. As long as people believe the message in the 66 books does it really matter?

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  111. Brian Smith

    If English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.

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  112. Kenny Gear

    Thankyou Andrew and Peter for your considered and polite responses – certainly I have no intention to offend. Indeed, I acknowledge that you and many others find comfort in their faith.

    Andrew I concur with your general point regarding knowledge, however I am of the belief that taking advantage of the vacuum to indoctrinate for life our children with our religious beliefs is morally wrong. Rather, children should be taught that there are many different religious views and allowed the opportunity to take these on board or not when they mature and possess the mental ability for in depth analysis.

    Regarding the Abrahamic sacrifice question, why would the creator of the universe require any kind of physical sacrifice in the first place, and I would suggest that there are other equally or more plausible interpretations of Isaac’s words which do not support this stance – as is the case throughout the whole biblical discussion. You will no doubt also be aware of the different account of this event rendered in the Koran. Additionally I would suggest that the religious scholars you mention had a somewhat one sided approach.

    I agree with your point regarding “the book” being a collection of writings put together over many centuries, but would question the evidence that everything in it can be proven as witnessed and authenticated. Rather there are many motivations for the (selective) content, many arguably political and to maintain the authority of certain groups, and there are many major inconsistencies with other historical evidence and texts delivering arguably less biased accounts of the same history.

    I would also point out that the original custodians and authors of the old testament – the Jews – “God’s Chosen People” no less – reject Christianity, and are still awaiting their Messiah – Jesus was not he.

    As you point out Yaweh reportedly promotes “an eye for an eye”. Of course Jesus later promotes the very different philosophy of “turn the other cheek”. How you reconcile either of these positions with burning in hell for not believing, or indeed for any possible evil perpetrated in this life is beyond me – this is not representative of a god of love and mercy but of a “don’t do as I do, do as I tell you” wrathful war god ruling by fear.

    Also I find the whole question of “Salvation through Christ” in the biblical sense to be logically very deeply flawed indeed. When we cut through all the mumbo jumbo what this says is essentially that an all knowing “God” created a universe. Being “all knowing” he knew perfectly well this would lead, owing to the built-in very severe justice system, to many, many souls burning in hell in unimaginable suffering. Not to worry tho; he had a plan; because of his infinite mercy he would later sacrifice his own ‘son’ (or perhaps not really a sacrifice, just a very short visit culminating in a day or two of – compared to eternal hellfire – mild suffering on a cross before going home again) and this would somehow mean that those that came after wouldn’t necessarily have to pay this extremely disproportionate price for their sins – assuming of course that his “grace” allowed it. This makes no sense whatsoever and is not indicative of a just, loving or kind being in any shape or form.

    Peter, I would suggest that the reason people take umbrage with the teaching as fact to children of 3000 year old ideas about the creation of the universe and the origins of life is that they are manifestly incorrect. These ideas are simply a record of one theory that someone came up with at the time, when they still believed the earth was flat, orbited by the sun etc, and most rational people find the teaching of this fundamentalist nonsense to children as the indisputable truth at best very backward from all sorts of perspectives, and at worst tantamount to child abuse. All of the science that has brought us the technology and medicine around us today, indeed allowing you to conduct your (somewhat suspect) research, lead the relatively comfortable life that you do, and us to have this conversation is in essence the same science that has led us to our present – albeit incomplete – state of knowledge about the origins of life and the universe. To me it is not rational to accept one and reject the other.

    In addition what possible need would the creator of the universe have of our “worship”? This to me indicates a delusional being in dire need of counselling, and merely reflects the submissive nature of 95% of mankind. Personally, if anything I would go with the Illuminatus view that if he exists he is the Demiurge; a disturbed and deluded narcissistic entity leading us away from the truth. Perhaps I did not really explain my logic regarding how this refutes the creationist view; however it is simply that for the reasons outlined above I see the ‘God’ depicted in the bible as, if he exists, an evil and deeply flawed impostor, and find the amazing universe we observe around us incompatible with such a twisted monster; maybe it was intelligently designed, maybe it wasn’t, however absolutely not in the biblical sense and not by the war god of the Jews.

    Perhaps a supreme being did indeed create the universe, however it was a lot, lot more than 6000 years ago my friend, and if so his design was a lot more sophisticated than that indicated in the bible; an evolving universe.

    With regards to the education provided down through the ages by the church this is indisputable, however the church can equally be fairly charged with very severe suppression of science and knowledge.

    The fact is that none of the Abrahamic religions can withstand rational review; if they could there would be no need of “faith” and the dire warnings to believers of people like me leading them away from God. This is clearly demonstrated in the story of the garden of eden and the Tree Of Knowledge. I can only thank my lucky stars that I was born into an age and part of the world that allows me the freedom to express my own view without some evil, murderous, hypocritical religious zealot unable to defend his position rationally, burning me alive or otherwise delivering imprisonment, torture, and a gruesome death.

    In any case, I realise that you both have a very different view indeed, and have no wish to offend or to turn you from that which brings you comfort or helps you through your life, but rather to contribute an alternative view to the discussion. May your God be with you, and I wish you success, (other than perhaps in the teaching to children of irrational nonsense ;-) ) health and happiness.

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  113. ian tinkler

    “Because it isn’t the truth that’s important: it’s the believing.” The truth is not important, Robert, wow, that is about the most idiotic statement I have ever read. Without truth we have nothing to believe in. Think about it.

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  114. Robert Sim

    Ian Tinkler says: “Try Biblical Hebrew, Robert Sim, that was the original text of most of The Bible. If your ancient Greek is a bit rusty, just how you can possible believe the accuracy of translations of the bible into Latin and English.”

    Ian,I can only base my comments on what is in front of me. Three out of four of the texts you presented concurred perfectly. I therefore have to assume that the Greek aligns with the others. Are you saying it doesn’t?

    Are you further saying that the Hebrew text does not match with the Greek or any of the others? If so, why have you not quoted it?

    This article, found very quickly, on the evidence base for the transaltions of the Bible, is interesting: http://www.christianity.co.nz/bible-3.htm It demonstrates that the New Testament we have now is in all probability very faithful to the original manuscripts.

    It does not seem to me that this is a big deal. I appreciate that you were trying to dismiss Christianity on the basis of the idea that we could not be sure that the texts we have now are true to what was originally written. I was merely pointing out that, on your own evidence, your assertion was not true.

    You would however be right if you said that the interpretation of what is going on in the Bible, as opposed to the literal meaning, varies significantly. I am no scholar of this area; but I know that over the centuries Jesus’ teachings have been interpreted in many different ways, depending on the needs of different societies and groups. Thought For The Day on Radio 4 illustrates how Biblical texts can be adapted to any given situation!

    The interesting question for me is not whether God exists, or how the world was created or how life evolved (science gives us the answer to the last two); but what is the role/significance of religious faith in society now, including Shetland society? Here is another interesting article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7302609.stm It reports on a study which concludes that religious faith can enable people to better cope with shock or change in life. If we don’t believe in God or a supernatural world (and I would count myself in that group), what significance does that finding have for us?

    Some religious faiths have developed meditation, which is akin to prayer, and that is also linked with wellbeing. Should that be promoted more widely in society?

    And that is my thought for the day!

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  115. Vivienne Rendall

    Personally, I find the notion of a god ‘out there’ who created the entire vast universe, and the idea that that same vast universe developed from a ‘singularity’ the size of a pinhead equally preposterous, both beyond belief. The only reasonable position is that of the agnostic who says we cannot know whether there is a god or not. Belief is another matter.
    Our son, when aged about six, made the observation ‘I think the universe is a model on God’s sideboard’. (He’s now 38, a convinced atheist).
    Vivienne Rendall,
    Northumberland.

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  116. Peter Jamieson

    Kenny says “Peter, I would suggest that the reason people take umbrage with the teaching as fact to children of 3000 year old ideas about the creation of the universe and the origins of life is that they are manifestly incorrect.”

    I have to disagree here. I think God’s word tells us many things about the creation of the universe, a lot of which is being verified by scientific discovery almost on a regular basis.

    For instance the bible says that God created everything out of nothing, and that is indeed what scientists have discovered: the universe had a beginning and something had to cause it to happen.

    Stephen Hawkins has of course made the claim that certain ‘laws’ (like gravity) made it inevitable that the ‘universe should pop into existence’, but this doesn’t answer the question about where those laws came from in the first place. You can’t have an uncaused cause, something had to be there to kick it all off.

    I personally have no problem with the evidence for a young earth, although it is not a line of argument I particularly involve myself in, but through research I have found the evidence for creation far more compelling than that of ‘evolution’.

    As you may have seen Alistair must have made a search for himself of evidence for ‘transitional fossils’. The links he then posted as a result are what you would expect to find when running a Google search, mostly ‘pro-evolution’ sites such as Talk Origins, Panda’s Thumb, Why Evolution is True, etc., that bombard you with so called ‘evidence.’ And because they make such a convincing case, showing all these diffefernt fossils, it is easy to believe that the ‘no transitional’ argument has been refuted. However, the reality is very different from the claims they like to make.

    What I would advise Alistair to now do is go into one of those sites, pick 1 transitional fossil, say Archaeopteryx, for example, read what they say in defence of it being a ‘transitional’, then do a search of all available independent scientific literature to see what science in general has to say.

    What you will then find, in every case you look at, is that the actual evidence for it being a ‘transitional’ is highly questionable, or in some cases even fraudulent.

    When I say that I have researched this subject for 5 years or more I am not joking. And it is because of this that I can quite confidently say here in the public domain that there is no such thing as a ‘transitional fossil, linking one species to another. I’ve looked, and I would suggest you do the same.

    After all, you do seem very concerned about what we teach our children.

    Reply
  117. Robert Sim

    In our own little personal dialogue, Ian Tinkler says ““Because it isn’t the truth that’s important: it’s the believing.” The truth is not important, Robert, wow, that is about the most idiotic statement I have ever read. Without truth we have nothing to believe in. Think about it.”

    Quotations taken out of context are tricky – or maybe sleekit – things, Ian. You will notice that the sentence before the one you quoted from my post says: “That is of course irrespective of the “truth” or otherwise of any particular religion’s teachings.” In other words, I was talking about the objective truth or otherwise of the Bible or any other religious text, not truth in general. Truth in general clearly is important.

    However your second-last sentence indicates that you still haven’t got it. Truth has little or nothing to do with belief. We can be presented with objective facts and still believe something quite different. That is why folk do the lottery week in, week out, rather than stick their money in a bank account. it is indeed why we have these debates on this and other discussion threads in the Times Forum. My point is that belief and the spiritual side of human nature is a powerful force. That’s all.

    Reply
  118. Ali Inkster

    I guess that the experience of the people of Zimbabwe over the last 34 years or the experience of the peoples of Uganda and Rwanda over the last 50 years mean nothing, all Marxist states. I guess those same Marxist writers you mention Mathew will tell you they are states of bliss in Africa. like religion, politics relies a lot on faith and a suspension of rational thought. but never mind Mathew just parrot back what your teachers want and you will pass your exams don’t try and find out the truth for yourself. And if you think a black South African today has any more right to protest than they did under Apartheid then you are seriously flawed in your thought.

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  119. Chris Ash

    Mathew Nicholson
    Please can you explain your statement “the tribal system appears to have worked”? Is that what they teach you in Higher History?

    By what standards did it ‘work’? The tribes of sub-Saharan Africa were still in the Iron Age when the whites arrived, and had not invented the wheel. They certainly had no votes or education, life expectancy was minimal and children died like flies. When the black tribes of Central Africa swept down into South Africa in the 1500s (the blacks of South Africa are not, as you have perhaps been taught, anything other than colonists themselves), they virtually exterminated the original inhabitants of Southern Africa, the San people. They then existed (for that was all it really was) by killing, raiding and looting from one another. Tribes like the Matabele and the Zulu massacred thousands of neighbouring tribespeople, and were still gleefully engaging in slavery generations after the ‘wicked’ British outlawed it across their Empire. Witchcraft was used as a catch-all accusation to have someone put to death so you could steal his cattle and this stifled any sort of development or advancement as no one wanted to attract such attention to themself.
    King Shaka, who the new South African government recently named an airport after, ordered the complete annihilation of the Ndwandwe tribe in 1826, leaving 40,000 men, women and children dead – funny they teach you about Sharpeville but not about that. When Shaka’s mother died in 1827, his insane reaction was to order random executions, the slaughter continuing until 7000 people had been murdered. His mother was then buried along with ten of her hand-maidens – these unfortunate wretches had their arms and legs broken before being buried alive to keep her company.

    Perhaps you can explain what ‘worked’ in this system? Or was it just a politically-correct sound bite?

    Reply
  120. “but it cannot explain why the horse shoe crab in comparison has remained unchanged for over 300my (millions of years).”

    I think you’ll find the Earth is, at most, 5000 years old.

    Also, you state there is no real evidence for evolution, so where’s the evidence for intelligent design?

    Reply
  121. george williamson

    5000 years old? Do you have evidence to back this up?

    Reply
  122. Freya Inkster

    In response to Matthew Simpson,

    What evidence do you have to prove that the Earth is 5000 years old?.There seems, in fact to be evidence to prove otherwise: fossils dating back millions of years?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/dec/22/luoping-fossils-discovered-china http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/dec/16/new-to-nature-culiseta-lemniscata

    Reply
  123. Joe johnson

    Everyone this debate has gone on long enough. You’ll all have to agree to disagree. Everyone has their beliefs and opinions.

    Reply
  124. Sandy McDonald

    I am afraid I am going to have to wade in here. The Earth is not 5000 years old. There are traces of human civilisation going back at least 20000 years and remains of old stone axe factories in east Africa that date back hundreds of thousands of years. And that is just humans.

    Our sun is at least a second generation star, the solar system started coalescing around 5 000 000 000 years ago after a nearby supernova disturbed a gas cloud and seeded it with heavy elements, the earth was pretty much fully formed around four and a half billion years ago.

    If you truly believe that the earth is 5000 years old then i am afraid to say you are away with the fairies. Get out there and read some books, proper books written by scientists and not mad hermits. Please do not teach children this drivel.

    Also someone said earlier that if English was good enough for Christ it was good enough for him. I highly doubt there was anything resembling the English language 2000 years ago when said person is alleged to have exsisted. Maybe Iain Tinkler could confirm this as he seems to be the language expert!

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  125. Peter Jamieson

    I would immagine that Mathew is having you on. However, some creationists do believe that the earth, according to the geneologies in the bible, should be somewhere between 6,500 – 7,500 years.

    Also Freya, there are many problems with so called dating methods used to measure how old, not only fossils are, but how old the the earth is. In fact there are many scientific papers on this particular problem.

    I think the most obvious problem for radiometric dating (radioisotope dating), as well as many other techniques used, is that before they could begin to date anything they first had to decide how old the earth is. But If they have the age of the earth wrong, then the foundation on what they gauge thier results will undoubtedly lead them to the wrong conclusions.

    Also they have to make many assumptions that could quite easily make the results highly innacurate i.e rates of decay may not have always been constant.

    However, problems with dating methods is much the same as with evolution: it is accepted as fact, taught as such in most schools and universities, and anyone who disents from these views are either ridiculled, marked down, or sacked.

    I think the best thing you could do Freya, is do what i did. Take a little time to find out for yourself. You could begin by searching through some of the topics raised on the link below.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers#/topic/radiometric-dating

    Mathew Simpson,

    The evidence for design in nature is all around you. And above you.

    First though it would be a good idea for you to find out what ID is, and isn’t, by reading through the link below. Should take you about 4 mins.

    http://www.intelligentdesign.org/whatisid.php

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  126. Peter Jamieson

    Mathew,

    After having read the above link and discovered what Intelligent Design is, read the following article, and watch the video.

    This is the argument for design in nature.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/01/spectacular_new_1068501.html

    Reply
  127. Allen Fraser

    There is more evidence for the existence of God than there is for dark matter in the Universe.
    Scientists invented mass (dark matter) to make equations for an expanding Universe work.
    Priests invented religion (Gods) to make the masses work.

    Reply
  128. Graeme Sutherland

    I’m pretty sure that, if God is reading this, He (or She) would be sad that people don’t have better things to do than argue on message-boards about issues that ultimately boil down to a “point of view”.

    Likewise, I’m sure that Darwin would be disappointed that people are more interested in using their opposable thumbs to press space bar while typing self-satisfying retorts, rather than going out and learning about the world around them.

    Perhaps we should just accept that people believe different things and leave it at that.

    Reply
  129. ian.right

    @Joe Johnson appreciate you may want to end this ‘debate’
    @Graeme Sutherland also appreciate you think people may have better things to do than ‘argue’
    I was looking back over the comments ‘discussed’ and apart from a few it looks as if most contributors were very courteous in their ‘opinions’ or perhaps ‘views’, however we are still awaiting the return of Mr.Tinkler who has done a ‘runner’ and not answered a variety of questions which he himself participated in and perhaps ‘set-up’ and unless he thinks himself above us we look forward to his soon return to ‘discuss’ them.

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  130. ian tinkler

    Ian right. I cannot argue against a closed mind. A pointless exercise trying to rationalise the irrational and blinkered. I, for one, hope not to see you in heaven, I would be bored silly being good , sitting for eternity on a cloud being self-righteous. I think I would prefer a bit of mayhem in the other place, more of my sort of people would be there. My last entry here, honest, honest in this tiresome debate.

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  131. David Spence

    I am intrigued to if there is a evolutionary theory towards religion? Why are there so many forms of faith?

    Why has there been so many gods and deities throughout the ages and yet not one has been proven to exist?

    Is it part of an evolutionary process that religion itself should evolve and develop without any basis of fact as a means of justifying unanswered questions?

    Is the only place in which religion can thrive in the imagination of the mind?

    Does God control the mind or the mind control God?

    Who is God?

    What is God?

    What is the function and purpose of God?

    If God is Eternity, what is the definition of Eternity? (just like there was nothing before the Big Bang……..please define what nothing is)

    Did the preacher’s (2000 years ago) of Christianity know anything about ‘ quantum physics ‘, ‘ molecular structures ‘, ‘ single cell and multi-cell organisms ‘, ‘ the biological processes involved in the creation of life (human) ‘…..the list goes on and on without religion itself providing any answer whatsoever.

    Reply
  132. ian right

    Mr.Tinkler
    Thanks for your reply and ‘answer(s)’ and I take no offence in your ‘last entry’
    Eternity is apparently neverending and those who are Christian’s and believe the God of the Bible’s account know that they will not be sitting on clouds (this is perhaps a ‘blinkered’ view of Heaven) but will be busy doing more important things.
    You say you would rather be in ‘The other place’ (as you call it) as you prefer a bit of ‘mayhem’, definition…”A state of violent disorder or riotous confusion;havoc”
    REF:http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mayhem,
    Perhaps the God of the Christian would have stronger word(s) for it.
    With respect I would suggest that perhaps the person with a blinkered and closed mind is you yourself Mr.Tinkler and something you will not be able to ‘rationalise’ this side of ‘eternity’ as you yourself called it.
    You stated …”I, for one, hope not to see you in heaven”, I have yet to say I am a Christian or even going to Heaven…you again are being presumptuous as usual,
    also your other derogatory remark of Christian’s being “self-righteous” and sitting on clouds from a Christian perspective is wrong, in the words of a book called Revelation chapter 21 verse 27.
    I leave you with a question before I go….do the choices and decisions in our lifetime have any effect on where we go from here when we die physically?

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  133. Peter Jamieson

    Hi David, you ask a lot of questions but I’m afraid you also make a few assumptions that are somewhat ill concieved. However, with a little common sense we can hopefully work through those which I deem relevent.

    To answer your first question: yes. Religion, as with any ideology, is well within the boundaries of evolvability.

    Secondly you ask “Why has there been so many gods and deities throughout the ages and yet not one has been proven to exist?”

    Yes there have been many deities, but to say that “non has been proven” is clearly wrong as millions of people throughout the world can make various claims to His existence. Just because you don’t accept them doesn’t mean that it isn’t proof.

    To answer your question about ‘who is God’ and ‘what is God’?

    From my experience ‘God’ is as the bible reveals to us. He is the creator of the universe. The great ‘I Am’. I know that won’t answer your question but if you really want to know I would suggest you read the bible, or at least the New Testament.

    Also, the God that I know exists is not Himself ‘eternity’, but He is ‘eternal’. There’s an obvious difference there.

    And lastly, I’m not sure why ‘peacher’s of 2000 years ago’ should have known anything about the various scientific terms you have sited, but certainly the bible does make various scientific claims.

    If you like I could point you to various biblical Scriptures and how they have been confirmed by science. It’s a very interesting topic which I’m sure you would enjoy.

    Reply
  134. Robert Lowes

    “Just because you don’t accept them doesn’t mean that it isn’t proof”.

    What, like the Darwinian model of evolution that every credible scientist (i.e. not crackpots trying to pass off intelligent design as a real science) accepts as the most likely and valid explanation for the formation of life on earth?

    Are you even listening to yourself?

    Reply
  135. David Spence

    Hi Peter, Thank you kindly for your comments in reference to my previous views on the said subject.

    I accept the bible can be good guidance in the way and manner in which one can conduct their life, philosophically speaking.

    However though Peter, I would have to say there is a rather large difference between giving help, advice and moral judgement’s in how one should live their life in terms of co-habiting with others of your own to this of professing to be the answer to the most fundamental of questions relating to us as human beings and the world around us and beyond. I find hard to justify scriptures and writings that were given at a time when our knowledge was very much limited to the confines of the religion itself in answering those most important of questions as to our existence, and, if it does exist, the after life thereafter. Many people may say ‘ It is up to you to disprove god does not exist ‘…..my answer would be ‘ How can you disprove a force which cannot be proven ‘……akin to Gravity……we can feel its presence, its effects, its consequences upon us but we cannot know of its structure, what, if any, it is made of ……we only know of its affects around us, through us and that everything we know about the universe is subject to this invisible force.

    I know there has been developments in regards to quantum physics and the discovery of the infamous higgs boson particle which may be responsible for giving matter its mass, but science has yet to discover the even more infamous graviton particle, which is responsible for gravity….. allegedly…….ok, going off in a slight tangent there……but my I am trying to make, albeit in a rather feeble way, the comparison between God and Gravity, and the similarities they share in terms of their affects upon us……physically as well as psychologically. How can I prove anti-gravity (disproving the existence of God) if I cannot prove that gravity exists?

    Reply
  136. Peter Jamieson

    Thanks for your comments Robert “What, like the Darwinian model of evolution that every credible scientist (i.e. not crackpots trying to pass off intelligent design as a real science) accepts as the most likely and valid explanation for the formation of life on earth?

    “Are you even listening to yourself?”

    Well in a sense, yes! Belief in God, just like belief in Darwinian evolution, are almost identical in that it takes faith to believe.

    The reason I say this is quite obvious 1) Faith, in regards to God, is what the bible teaches. 2) evidence for Darwinian evolution is not fact based but merely based on a hypothesis.

    Many of the worlds leading scientists however don’t agree with you Robert.

    http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

    Out of those who wished to be named over 6,000 to date have signed a declaration declaring their dissent from Darwinian evolution. And every day that list grows longer.

    I know, your next line of defence will be to google it and then you will no doubt site articles from Talk Origins or Panda’s Thumb trying to counter argue this claim, but it stands regardless of the ridicule that they, and perhaps people like you, will aim at it.

    I am not anti-Darwinism because of my faith in God, I dissent from Darwinism because I don’t have enough faith to believe in it. The evidence for it is simply not there.

    Look for yourself, search through the literature for what you have always believed supports Darwinian theory, and when you begin to scratch even a little under the surafce what you will find may just astonish you.

    Thanks David for your comments. I always find them very interesting. And yes i do see your point. However, I unfortuntaley don’t have the time to respond just yet but will hopefully manage later in the day.

    Reply
  137. David Spence

    I wonder what would happen if you could go back in time and (say the middle ages) show people devices like a cd player (sound), a portable dvd player (to show moving images and sound) a calculator or even a laptop computer……..would you be regarded as a force of evil or good? Would you be regarded as performing the devils work and subsequently sentenced to death because they (the people of the time) could not understand the technology being shown?

    I use this hypothetical example of how religion can, in many ways, be used to misinterpret what is being shown and functioning to this of not understanding the technology, thus coming up with irrational conclusions and subsequent actions thereafter.

    Prior to the Industrial Revolution (before the majority of people could read and write) the only source of information was via the church and from those in power. Information regarding science and technology was limited and constrained by religion and, in many cases, military powers of the day. Although it cannot be proven, I do suspect that technological and scientific progress would have been prohibited if not completely banned on the grounds that those of the church or in power did not or could not understand the technology or the theories regarding human creation or the world around us or other related sciences, including stellar information as well. Because of this lack understanding, this has been, probably, one of the main reasons why, generally speaking, the basic principles of how society has been structured has not changed for over 1,700 years.

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  138. Luke Sandison

    “No Evidence That Evolution Is Possible.
    The basic reason why there is no scientific evidence of evolution in either the present or the past is that the law of increasing entropy, or the second law of thermodynamics, contradicts the very premise of evolution. The evolutionist assumes that the whole universe has evolved upward from a single primeval particle to human beings, but the second law (one of the best-proved laws of science) says that the whole universe is running down into complete disorder.

    “How can the forces of biological development and the forces of physical degeneration be operating at cross purposes? It would take, of course, a far greater mind than mine even to attempt to penetrate this riddle. I can only pose the question. . . .” 12

    Evolutionists commonly attempt to sidestep this question by asserting that the second law applies only to isolated systems. But this is wrong!

    “. . . the quantity of entropy generated locally cannot be negative irrespective of whether the system is isolated or not.” 13″ Taken from icr.org artictle 260. Thanks Peter for refering to Bibilcal reference and Science in an earlier comment. Until there is Solid proof that Design by God is not in Union with this world then i refuse to belive that God created me an Ape like creature!

    Reply
  139. Sandy McDonald

    Entropy is a tricky subject, you may think that evolution is somehow breaking the second law of thermodynamics but this is in fact false. The universe started in a very ordered state, with all forces combined in one meta force. Ever since that first incident the tempreture has been slowly running towards absolute zero.

    It is a common misconception that if you arrange, say, a broken cup back together, gluing all the pieces back to its original state that you have somehow beaten the 2nd law. Wrong! The energy that you have expended during the exercise will have excited molocules of air creating more disorder than you have removed.

    The process of evolution has not created more order in the universe, due to the energy required to fuel this change the universe has become more disordered.

    You must remember that we are talking cosmic timescales here, the universe is still in its infancy, if viewed as a human life the umbilical cord would not even have yet been cut. Human civilisation is barely a plank second long, if it has even registered at all. We forget how insignificant we truly are.

    Your argument should perhaps of centred on the huge improbability of a universe appearing in such an ordered state in the first place as it is far more likely to have popped into existence in a state of maximum entropy. Physists don’t like it when you challenge them on this fact as no one can explain why this is.

    Oops, shouldn’t have written that as I am sure Peter will leap on this fact with glee!

    Reply
  140. Craig Masson

    What a great discussion!

    My issue with religion is that I don’t want to live forever. Given the option, I will take nihility (i.e., peace and quiet) over eternal life. I don’t think I need to go to church or pray for that. If there is a reasonable God (just half-decent), I expect that on my day of reckoning He will forgive me for my lack of faith and let me have my wish. If I were God, I would make that option available to everyone, and I don’t consider myself to be especially forgiving.

    If, on my passing, God decides that eternity in a furnace is a more appropriate direction for my afterlife, then I think He must be rather unpleasant. In that case, the “smoke of my torment” will surely make me regretful that I was not holy when I had the opportunity. But I will try to console myself with pride in not having been part of His dreadful cult.

    For the record, I am an atheist and I am not actually concerned with the scenario outlined in the previous paragraph. Also for the record, I have both feet firmly in the evolution camp.

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  141. Ian Right

    Craig…Appreciate your ‘take’ on things, the choice is obviously yours and yours alone, but eternity is a ‘long’ time to be ‘regretful’.
    ‘If’ we are to believe what Christian’s call the Word of God, the Bible, these two verses are worth considering John chapter 3 and verse 16 and verse 36.
    There is no one and no amount of ‘Bible bashing’ that can ‘convert’ (freely) any one to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who the Bible says is the Son of God who offers salvation and pardon from sins!!
    The type of Christian’s I meet on a daily basis do not believe in ‘Religion’ as it is very often called but rather the ‘Person’ of the Son of God.

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  142. Robert Sim

    It is interesting to note that religious belief is of course itself clearly a product of evolution – like everything else in human life today. The question is: what advantage does it confer? The topic is discussed in these articles, to select only two: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/richard-alleyne/6146411/Humans-evolved-to-believe-in-God.html
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129528196

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  143. David Spence

    If anybody watched the BBC2 Programme ‘ Wonders of Life ‘, hosted by Professor Brian Cox, you may have noticed one theory being put forward as to how life may have began and its relationship with energy. It is certainly more plausible than, no offense meant, an imaginary entity (based on a book written by humans based on this imaginary entity) called God, who, with no explanation given in the Bible, created over a million species of life for the purpose of ?????? (Please define the function and purpose of life from a religious point of view – not only for humans but for all forms of life on this planet).

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  144. Peter Jamieson

    A lot of comments since I last had a chance to look and so I will get around to answering some as best i can later. But this one by Robert deserves an immediate response.

    “It is interesting to note that religious belief is of course itself clearly a product of evolution – like everything else in human life today.”

    Robert, if ‘Religious belief’ is merely a product of ‘evolution’, then please tell me why we should put our trust in the very thing you believe … evolution?

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  145. Peter Jamieson

    A quick look at some of the posts I see another one that is worthy of a quick response.

    David says that he watched a programe called ‘wonders of life’ in which they put forward a plausible theory as to how life arose on this planet.

    A friend informed me that this same programe was to be screened (Sun 28th 9pm BBC 2), unfortunatley I wasn’t able to at the time, but replied with great confidence that it would be a very typical ‘speculation, spectacular’, which they would somehow turn into ‘fact’.

    However, this programe even exceeded my expectations, when sneeking a look at it, before going to my work this morning, when after numerous ‘may have’s’ and ‘could have’s’ and ‘possibly’s', right on the 28minute mark they altered the language and ever so subtly began to call it a ‘fact’.

    When viewing programes of this nature you have to be very carefull about the language they are using as theory, can very quickly become ‘fact’ without them having to explain the leap.

    Hopefully later tonight I can have a right look at some of the other posts, David’s one included, and relay my thoughts.

    Let me just say ‘Darwinian evolution’ is still a theory, and an extremely poor one at that.

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  146. Robert Sim

    Peter, you ask me “…if ‘Religious belief’ is merely a product of ‘evolution’, then please tell me why we should put our trust in the very thing you believe … evolution?”

    You are confusing the product of evolution (religious belief) with the means of its production (evolution). Evolution has produced a lot of things that may seem odd but can be seen as serving a purpose. Did you read the articles I mentioned?

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  147. Peter Jamieson

    ‘You are confusing the product of evolution (religious belief) with the means of its production (evolution). Evolution has produced a lot of things that may seem odd but can be seen as serving a purpose. Did you read the articles I mentioned?.

    Robert if belief in something is a product of ‘evolution’, whatever that belief might be, and whether it serves a purpose or not, how can we ultimately trust anything that our minds percieve?

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  148. John Tulloch

    Did any of the above debaters watch BBC 2′s programme “Ice Age Art” this evening?

    Insofar as we can trust the BBC not to invent sensational stories, the stunning images and sculptures from 13,000 to 30,000 years ago will provide food for thought, if not also further comment.

    “Nobody could draw like this until Van Goch” said arty enthusiast Anthony Gormley who himself sculpted the “Angel of the North.”

    Even if you’re not interested in this debate, a quick shufty at BBC iPlayer will be rewarded.

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  149. David Spence

    Angel of the North, not so much a piece of art work, more of an eye sore scarring the surrounding countryside…….I would say lol I found it very hard to believe that a replica of this (on a vastly smaller scale) was presented in the Antiques Road Show and the expert had the audacity to value it at 1 million pounds.

    Mind you, the Tate Modern and the even more laughable Turner Prize have changed Art from an unique skill and talent to ‘ Anybody can do it ‘ with the puerile rubbish in which they exhibit. Art gone commercialized for the untalented, unskilled opportunist to classify their tripe as ‘ Modern Art ‘ ‘ Conceptual Art ‘ or ‘ Expressionism ‘.

    I know in this day and age of Political Corrrectness, one is not allowed to express their view incase it offends some person here or there……..but when it comes to the rubbish and puerile garbage this style of art presents or promotes, I could not give a hoot.

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  150. John Tulloch

    Ok, I can’t say I’m a big fan of a lot of modern art either so it’s just as well that isn’t what the programme was about.

    It was about art from the last ice age whose quality is amazing and while I can’t profess to know a lot about evolution, I thought this might be of interest to those who do as I found it intriguing.

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  151. David Spence

    I take your point John, in regards to the Ice Age Art, and its deep significance and meaning to human development from a social as well as, possibly, biological progression on how our species has advanced through ‘ evolutionary development ‘ according to our scientific, anthropological, archaeological and historical research and means in which to deduce evidence greater than ‘ a holy book ‘ lets say.

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  152. John Tulloch

    As I understand it Darwin’s theory of evolution is a strictly mechanistic process which follows naturally from the catchphrase “survival of the fittest” with changing ambient conditions and predators leading to periods of stability or accelerated development.

    I can see how artistic ability might have evolved as a by-product to tool-making and communicating e.g. plans for a hunt however I am intrigued by how maintaining groups of artists within a tribe during the ice age could be a consequence of “survival of the fittest” in what was, I suspect, a tenuous existence during a period of great danger and hardship?

    Maybe that was a bit speculative?

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  153. Robert Sim

    In response to John Tulloch’s last post, in which he speculates about what evolutionary purpose art (or indeed the arts) might serve, the following article is worth reading: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/27/science/27angi.html?_r=0As

    The main point arising from the article is that, far from being an accidental by-product of anything else, the arts have a definite purpose of their own in terms of helping bind us together socially. Interestingly enough, one academic states that “…the only social elixir of comparable strength is religion, another impulse that spans cultures and time.”

    Reply
  154. Robert Sim

    Just noticed Peter Jamieson’s comment of 28 Jan on my post. Peter says: “Robert if belief in something is a product of ‘evolution’, whatever that belief might be, and whether it serves a purpose or not, how can we ultimately trust anything that our minds perceive?” It might seem silly to respond so belatedly; but I feel I have to point out that we are talking here not about belief in general but about religious belief. Religious belief asks us to believe in things which are not susceptible of normal proof, ie not part of the physical world. There is a clear distinction between that and things which are susceptible of proof. In ordinary life, I am able to verify in different ways what my senses tell me. That is how I am able to trust what my mind perceives. Again, I would refer you to the articles I mentioned for a clearer and fuller explanation.

    Reply
  155. David Spence

    I am intrigued John, if you think the Ice Age Art (probably the best examples being located in the south of France) was influenced by religious or spiritual meaning behind the reason for the art or whether it was, possibly, the precursor to the written language? It seems very evident that, based on many other cultures around the world, pictorial representation was demonstrated prior to more advanced methods of communication and recording events as a source of information. As far as I am aware, the oldest recorded representation of what could be described as the ‘ written language ‘ originates from southern Iraq going back to around 3000 – 3500 BC, I believe?

    I was watching a tv programme about how long it would take nature to eradicate any evidence that humans were on this planet, it is called ‘ Life after People ‘ which predicted that it would take around 30,000 years to totally wipe out any evidence that human beings inhabited the planet. One particular factor it pointed out was the extremely short life span our modern means of recording the written language, this being the computer and digital information, where they predicted, at maximum, around 200 years, if not even shorter, depending on environmental conditions. So, even although we may have advanced in the means in which to record the written language, its shelf life is significantly shorter compared to past methods, as history has indicated.

    Reply
  156. Peter Jamieson

    “It might seem silly to respond so belatedly; but I feel I have to point out that we are talking here not about belief in general but about religious belief. Religious belief asks us to believe in things which are not susceptible of normal proof, ie not part of the physical world.”

    Darwinian evolution is also matter of belief. For instance some scientists believe that life evolved over millions of years, a steady line of transition as life forms spilt, diverge, becoming new species, but without any solid evidence. It’s quite amusing really.

    David reckons that this belief has more evidence than the writings of some ‘Holy book’, although I beg to differ. The bible in fact says a lot about the cosmos and lifes beginnings, which in my view are verified by the evidence, unlike Darwinian evolution which is falsified by the lack of evidence to support it.

    For instance the bible says in Chapter 1 that there was a ‘beginning’ to the universe, although this idea was largely rejected by science until quite recently.

    Also it says in Genesis that God created life from ‘dust’. Funnily enough this has also been verified quite recently as scientists begin to understand more about life’s chemistry. Something like 98.9 percent of what makes us can be found in – guess what – yep ‘dust’. Funny that isn’t it?

    Also in Genesis it says that God created all living things in their specific ‘Kinds’, you know like dogs, Tyranosaurus, Giraffes, Lemurs, Australapithicines, apes, killer whales etc. And funnily enough, when we look at available fossils what do we find – we find everything in their specific kinds with nothing linking one creature to another. In other words what we find ‘stasis’. Which of course is the antithesis to Darwinian evolution.

    To make things easier for us the scietific community have actually decided upon the one mammal that gave rise to all the rest. Without getting all sciency let’s just say that it ticks more boxes than all the others. But what it allows us to do is look for all the transitionals between this creature and the hundreds of mammals that live on our planet today. Do you know how many examples of transitionals the fossil record has yielded so far? (Go on, have a guess. It’s actually quite easy).

    If you are going to have faith in something at least look at what has more evidence, and then follow that evidence wherever leads.

    http://www.newser.com/story/162477/meet-the-66m-year-old-ancestor-of-all-mammals.html

    Reply
  157. Shuard Manson

    Which chapter o da bible features da dinosaurs????

    Reply
  158. Robert Lowes

    Peter – you’re cherry picking bits of science that support your own biblical world view and unsurprisingly, completely misrepresenting the facts. Household dust is comprised in the most part of human skin cells that have been shed over time. Therefore, yes – it is true to an extent that household dust is comprised of the ‘same stuff’ as us – but that’s only because household dust is an inadvertent byproduct of human existence – not confirmation of a biblical story.

    As to science only recently agreeing that there was a beginning to the universe, that is true. Sometimes it can take the scientific community some time to accept that they get things wrong for a variety of reasons. However, once a new theory is shown to be unequivocal, that becomes the norm relatively quickly. For example, it’s only been in the last 20 years that two Australian doctors postulated that stomach ulcers were caused by bacteria, having found it was a common factor in various patients – and not caused by bad diet and stress as had previously been thought – and that it could in fact be cleared up fairly easily with the correct treatment. Once their findings were published, they were dismissed – until it was clearly demonstrated that bacteria do indeed cause stomach ulcers, in this case by one of the doctors ingesting a culture of said bacteria and developing stomach ulcers quickly after.

    However, it should also be pointed out that if the scientific community can be slow to adapt to knew ways of thinking, the religious establishment is positively glacial. In 1992, the late Pope John Paul II decreed that the church had been incorrect in trying Galileo Galilee for heresy, banning his books and placing him under house arrest for the remainder of his life, following Galileo’s assessment that the Earth revolves around the sun a full 360 years earlier.

    Your assessment of transitional fossils is also completely incorrect. I’m not certain you actually understand what a transitional fossil is anyway. Darwinian evolution is a slow process, and changes in species happen so gradually that in many instances, such changes can be missed in fossilised remains. There are indeed transitional fossils, but they are few and far between – mostly because fossilisation in itself is not a guaranteed process. The geological and environmental factors necessary are specific. To give some idea of how rare fossils can be, it should be noted that palaeontologists have only identified some thirty incomplete skeletons of Tyrannosaurus Rex in the last century, as opposed to fragments of jawbone and teeth. Incidentally, it is only in the last 20-odd years that science has identified that T-Rex kept it’s tail raised off the ground rather than dragging it along, and that was likely more of a scavenger/hunter than an out and out predator. But then in 1905 when T Rex was first identified, there wasn’t any means of accurately identifying how muscle attached to bone and how the mechanics of skeletal structures worked either.

    Having said that, there are examples of transitional fossils to be found. For example, palaeontology (an actual, accredited science and not a made up one like “intelligent design”) has identified a primate that shows a significant adaption in the structure of the foot – an additional bone that makes walking on hind legs considerably easier. This bone is not present in earlier primates, but does show up in all the remains of our direct forebears.

    In addition, some creatures (such as sharks and crocodilians) remain relatively unchanged in form for millions of years because they have reached the peak of their evolution. Any further change would not be beneficial to the survival of the species. “Survival of the Fittest” is often used as a catch-all summary of Darwin’s theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. This means that lifeforms adapt to suit their environment and conditions. Those best suited survive.

    The bottom line is that science cannot explain everything exactly at anyone time, but it is adaptable enough to change when new knowledge is presented and verified -much like Evolution by Natural Selection itself. The best theories are those based on what we know at anyone time. So far, Evolution by Natural Selection is the best theory available on how life develops. “Intelligent Design”, is not. Despite it’s name, “Intelligent Design” is a stupid, wilfully ignorant pseudo-science that goes against all rational scientific thinking and perpetuated by a powerful Christian fundamentalist lobby. It is not a science, it does not hold any answers. I try to keep an open mind on most things, but there is no room to manoeuvre on Intelligent Design – it is an intellectual dead end and does not deserve the amount of room so far afforded it by the Shetland Times in this line of correspondence.

    Reply
  159. Peter Jamieson

    Thanks Robert for your well constructed response to my post.

    “The best theories are those based on what we know at anyone time. So far, Evolution by Natural Selection is the best theory available on how life develops. “Intelligent Design”, is not. Despite it’s name, “Intelligent Design” is a stupid, wilfully ignorant pseudo-science that goes against all rational scientific thinking and perpetuated by a powerful Christian fundamentalist lobby. It is not a science, it does not hold any answers. I try to keep an open mind on most things, but there is no room to manoeuvre on Intelligent Design – it is an intellectual dead end and does not deserve the amount of room so far afforded it by the Shetland Times in this line of correspondence.

    If you kept an open mind on things you wouldn’t dismiss ID. Simple as. Your own leanings on this subject is clearly from a fundamentalist position. You are a Darwinist, and unless the study is done from a puerly naturalistic perspective you won’t regard anything else as having any validity.

    Just recentlyt one of the worlds leading scientists, who I will add, is not necessarily a supporter of ID, made a very public declaration of his desent from Darwinism. I mean you would think in this day and age, with all the evidence that we have at hand, especially the fossil evidence (wink, wink), Darwinian evolution would be a foregone conclusion … but not so.

    Here is a link to an article run by Uncommon Descent about world famous Chemist Professor James. M. Tour.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/a-world-famous-chemist-tells-the-truth-theres-no-scientist-alive-today-who-understands-macroevolution/

    It is a very interesting article, whatever your viewpoint, but I would certainly advise you to listen to the talk that is linked within the article. It really is very good.

    Your views Robert, as much as I appreciate the the efort you make, are becoming less tenable the more science begins to unravel avbout what life actually is.

    This is very telling from Professor Richard Smalley (scientist who recieved the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1996). -

    - After reading the books “Origins of Life” and “Who Was Adam?”, written by Dr. Hugh Ross (an astrophysicist) and Dr. Fazale Rana (a biochemist).. Dr. Smalley explained his change of heart as follows: Evolution has just been dealt its death blow. After reading “Origins of Life”, with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear evolution could not have occurred. The new book, “Who Was Adam?”, is the silver bullet that puts the evolution.

    If you think your mind is open about these matters then you really need to broaden your horizons somewhat.

    Why don’t you attend the meeting on saturday night at 7pm at the museum auditorium where you can discuss this topic openly with Dr. Alastair Nobel (Centre for Intelligent Design). I’m sure with your insights we could all learn a great deal is a forum open to discussion.

    http://www.c4id.org.uk/

    Reply
  160. Peter Jamieson

    Oops, I cut short that quotation. It should have read:

    - Evolution has just been dealt its death blow. After reading “Origins of Life”, with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear evolution could not have occurred. The new book, “Who Was Adam?”, is the silver bullet that puts the evolutionary model to death-

    Again however, this is the view of a Nobel prize winning sceintist, who unlike many other famous scientists who share his views, was not afraid to stand up and say it to the rest of the world.

    The good news though is that more and more scientists are finding that courage every day, which really is bad news for people like you as you will soon be left with no where to hide.

    Reply
  161. John Tulloch

    Robert,

    Now you’re wanting to ban Peter?

    .

    Reply
  162. Robert Lowes

    Peter – the three scientists you mention are also all people of faith and are unable – like yourself – to separate their faith from fact. The only thing untenable here is the ridiculous lengths people of faith will go to in order to make the material world fit with their view of the world. the article you link to is an Intelligent Design website, not a credible source. I would note however, that both macro and microevolution – that is evolution which occurs within an entire species and evolution which occurs within a specific population of a species – are fundamentally exactly the same process, despite what creationists would like you to believe. I would also add that if Professor Smalley really doesn’t understand who his particular field of study works, he should hand back his nobel Prize and tear up his certificates.

    Thank you for your invitation, but I have no wish to subject myself to the level of brainwashing, misinformation and the denial of fact to which you subscribe. It’s just a shame the museum is hosting the event – a centre for learning is no place for the utter fallacy that is “Intelligent Design”.

    Reply
  163. John Tulloch

    Robert,

    If as you say, Peter’s views are the product of an outdated philosophy from an ancient time, doesn’t that make the museum an appropriate venue for demonstrating them just as it wouldn’t be out of place to have someone demonstrating how the ancients made stone age tools, for example?

    I know nothing about ID apart from what I’ve read here however if it’s complete tosh it should be easy to knock it down on the night, yet you won’t accept Peter’s challenge because you fear “brain-washing” – in a “centre of learning”?

    Surely your surroundings would remind you to retain control of your faculties?

    Of course, having been labelled a “denier” many times myself in a different quasi-religious context, I can see it could be lonely there as it doesn’t sound as if any of your fellow “deniers” will risk turning up either?

    Reply
  164. Peter Jamieson

    Robert, I would think a museum auditorium is a perfectly suitable venue to discuss Intelligent Design, or anything else for that matter. Open discussion and freedom of speech should be promoted, especially in the various disciplines of scientific research, unless of course what is being discussed could potentially threaten to expose the many weaknesses of a long held belief, and especially one that is protected by law – namely – Darwinian evolution.

    Also, John is quite right. Why would anyone, even of average intellegence, fear being ‘brain washed’? What a ridiculous thing to suggest.

    If you think that ID is nothing more than psuedoscience then why don’t you come along and challenge DR. Alastair Nobel, he is after all an expert in this field and in Shetland to discuss this very topic. And by the way, you would not be alone, there are many people attending who share your views.

    It’s like I said in a previous post, you have your beliefs, and you have your evidences for holding those beliefs, but you won’t want to be challenged on them as you are probably not as confident in them as you would like us all to believe?

    Come out from behind your rock of materialism, after all it’s getting smaller and smaller day by day, and when its finally gone, which may not be too far away, you will only end up looking rather foolish.

    Reply
  165. Peter Jamieson

    Robert, looking through a recent post you make a rather bold claim

    “Your assessment of transitional fossils is also completely incorrect. I’m not certain you actually understand what a transitional fossil is anyway. Darwinian evolution is a slow process, and changes in species happen so gradually that in many instances, such changes can be missed in fossilised remains. There are indeed transitional fossils, but they are few and far between – mostly because fossilisation in itself is not a guaranteed process”

    Would you care to back up this claim by providing an example of ‘transitional fossils’, so that those of us who are confused as to what they are can get a better understanding.

    Any one specimen will suffice for the time being, but it must meet two obvious demands 1) there must be actual fossil evidence to view 2) it has been confirmed as a transition, between one species, and another in scientific literature (other than Talk origins & Pand’s Thumb).

    Thanks.

    Reply
  166. Robert Sim

    Peter, re your request to my namesake for evidence of transitional fossils, Archaeoptyryx appears to fit your criteria. I am not an expert in this area: I just looked up “transitional fossils” on wikipedia.

    It goes on to explain there that, since the discovery of Archaeoptyryx in 1861, “many more transitional fossils have been discovered…and there is now considered to be abundant evidence of how all classes of vertebrates are related, much of it in the form of transitional fossils…”

    Another interesting article in wikipedia is the one on Intelligent Design. Fascinating.

    Reply
  167. Allen Fraser

    The problem with this debate is not that scientists are trying to disprove the existence of God, but that Godists are trying to disprove the existence of science.

    Reply
  168. John Tulloch

    In fairness, Alan, that’s not my impression, rather they appear to be challenging a particular theory to which they don’t subscribe and whether you or I or anyone else accepts their evidence, that is what they are attempting to do and actually, it is a scientific approach. Whether their evidence stacks up is another matter and I have insufficient knowledge to comment on that however even if we decide to believe in science as another religion, we mustn’t believe in it as it stands today since scientific theories, no matter how widely accepted are always open to challenge – we can NEVER say “the science is settled.”

    Reply
  169. Robert Lowes

    I’m afraid Allen has hit the nail on the head. Intelligent Design is not rooted in science, it is rooted in biblical creationism. Previously, evolution had been taught in American schools, until the Scopes trial of 1925, after which it virtually disappeared (Scopes was found guilty of violating state law by teaching it). In the 1960′s, it gradually crept back into text books, until it became the dominant teaching of the origin of life. In 1987, the teaching of creationism in school science classes was banned at a federal level, because it violated the separation of church & state that the US constitution requires.

    Since then, the Discovery Institute (founded in 1990) – effectively a think-tank bankrolled by evangelical Christians (and not a scientific body) – has promoted their idea that because the mechanisms of life are so complex, they must have been engineered – effectively by god. The Discovery Institute will tell you it is a non-religious body, yet all it’s directors happen to be evangelical Christians.

    In addition, the DI claim that Evolution is a scientific theory on which there is a great deal of dissent amongst the scientific community (it isn’t), that there is little evidence to back it up, etc, etc. All of which is complete bunk. The fact of the matter is, the theories and principles of evolution have been tested rigorously be millions of scientists around the globe, using biology, palaeontology, DNA, etc, etc. intelligent Design does not seek to exist as an alternative theory, it seeks to usurp science with mumbo-jumbo and falehoods.

    Reply
  170. Robert Sim

    In reply to John Tulloch’s comment that what the proponents of ID are doing in challenging the theory of evolution is taking “a scientific approach”, I would have to say that it is surely the diametric opposite of a scientific approach. A scientist makes observations and constructs a theory which will fit what has been observed. The proponents of ID make the observations fit the theory. And of course creationism isn’t a theory in the scientific sense either.

    Reply
  171. Peter Jamieson

    Hi Robert,

    Thank you for taking the time to produce a ‘transitional fossil’, albeit through Wiki.

    First of all, I can type in ‘transitional fossil’ and find a multitude of sites where the claim is made that there are many specimens. In fact I have researched this subject for quite a long time now and let me just assure you, there are no fossils that depict how one animal evolved into another.

    Archaeopteryx, for instance, has been touted for a long time as a ‘transitional fossil’ because it shares certain traits belonging to both dinosuars and birds, however, there are no fossils that show that Arcaeopteryx evolved from a dinosuar, or for that matter that it went on to evolve into anything. In other words there is no fossil evidence of anything prior to, or after it. It’s a evolutionary dead end. And that is what you will find for every fossil touted as a transitional, there is nothing prior to it’s existence, and no evidence that it evolves thereafter.

    Why don’t you go have a look for yourself rather than rely on things like Wiki. It’s hardly an authority on anything these days.

    Secondly, there is a list of at least 6,000 scientists who have signed a declaration that they have dissented from Darwinism. Some of these scientists are also some of the best in the world.

    http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

    You can read a recent article about one such scientist here.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/a-world-famous-chemist-tells-the-truth-theres-no-scientist-alive-today-who-understands-macroevolution/

    Reply
  172. John Tulloch

    Robert Sim,

    I hear what you are saying and Peter will, doubtless, defend his own philosophy.

    My worry is that science can be believed in like a religion (I should know, I used to prior to the man-made global warming scare) whereas it is only the most arguably plausible “story” so far concocted to “explain” what we perceive to be going on around us and alas, it has been corrupted by money and politics to an extent that it cannot be allowed to run free, unchallenged.

    The following link is to an article by a very experienced American peer reviewer, written in 2007, well before “Climate-gate and so all the more courageous.

    http://www.thegwpf.org/peer-review-scientific-consensus/

    I see no reason to imagine the situation in Britain is any different.

    As mentioned in previous posts Richard Feynman’s “Cargo Cult Science” essay presented to Caltech students in 1974 gives chapter and verse on this.

    It must be recognised that while Feynman may well have dismantled ID had he been around now, he would be the first to agree that science is never settled.

    Reply
  173. John Tulloch

    Sorry, the link I gave above doesn’give the whole article which can be found at

    http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1963

    Reply
  174. Peter Jamieson

    There are a number of statments above that could do with a little cosideration.

    Firstly Allen states “The problem with this debate is not that scientists are trying to disprove the existence of God, but that Godists are trying to disprove the existence of science.”

    It is obvious to me that Allen is confused by one of two things, or possibly both.
    Intelligent Design does not infer who the designer is; it could be God (which many scientists believe), or it could be the result of something else entirley like Pranspermia (see link below).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia

    You see it’s very posible that it could have arrived here via some outside Intelligence like that of aliens, who either planted it here, or arrived on this planet by Panspermia, its origins being from an Alien civilisation. This actualy something that Richard Dawkins himself has even endorsed as a possibility. Who would have imagined that dawkins would think ID is a possibility (see link below)?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlZtEjtlirc

    Or yes, it may have been designed by a supernatural Intelligence i.e. God.

    Secondly, Robert Lowes states “I’m afraid Allen has hit the nail on the head. Intelligent Design is not rooted in science, it is rooted in biblical creationism.”

    Which is followed by Robert Sim “In reply to John Tulloch’s comment that what the proponents of ID are doing in challenging the theory of evolution is taking “a scientific approach”, I would have to say that it is surely the diametric opposite of a scientific approach.”

    These comments give me the impression that neither of you understand what ‘science’ is?

    And lastly (sadly I have run out of time and can’t go into this properly), would any of you care to discuss with me the content of wiki’s description of Intelligent Design?

    Reply
  175. John Tulloch

    If Wikipedia’s portrayal of sceptical scientists – some highly acclaimed – who question the so-called “settled science” of “dangerous man-made climate change” is anything to go by, ID is likely to get short shrift.

    Mind you, in fairness to Wikipedia they did ban William Connolly, a prime culprit, from editing and contributing to the website.

    Reply
  176. Peter Macmillan

    Having followed this thread to the point where the original poster wants to discus “intelligent design” I feel I have to point out that a god (any god) who “designs” his creations so full of flaws as to never be able to live up to his expectations,who “designs” them so badly that he has to wipe them out with flood,famine,etc,etc,order them to kill their own sons and daughters ritually,allows one of his creations i.e. Satan to run amok through it all is Far from intelligent. Lets forget all this talk of Wikipedia and take a good look at where all christians get their information from. The bible. Oh Dear, now there is a problem.

    Reply
  177. Peter Jamieson

    Someone on here, in one of the earlier posts, claimed that the evidence for Irreducible Complexity was now seen as’ a joke in the world of science’.

    I just wondered if whoever that was would like to defend there position somewhat.

    Here is a link to an article in Uncommon Descent on this very subject. A read through it will give an extremely easy to understand overview of the evidence in favour of it, and therefore should be quite easy for any one who holds an opposing view to refute.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/when-can-a-child-understand-an-issue-more-clearly-than-two-ph-ds-combined-when-a-shibboleth-of-nde-is-at-stake/

    Any one care to have a go?

    Or better still, why not log in and respond within the article itself. There are people there better equiped to respond to your arguments than I.

    If evolution is the fact most people on here think it this then this challenge should be a walk in the park.

    However, I very much doubt if anyone will.

    Reply
  178. Bob Crofts

    Yes, I care to have a go.

    Would you care to meet me in person? That way we can discuss all claims in one place, at one time. If you were willing to meet Mr Dawkins in person then surely you wont think twice about meeting myself in person for a debate.

    Reply
  179. Peter Jamieson

    Hi Bob,

    Thank you for getting in touch.

    Yes I would very much like to meet up and discuss this issue.

    I will reply to your email and we can arrange it from there.

    Reply

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